Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Reflexed Wild-ginger - Asarum reflexum   Bicknell
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Section 4 » Family Aristolochiaceae
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AuthorBicknell
DistributionThis taxon -- Asarum reflexum -- and A. acuminatum are quite controversial splits from A. canadense, which is widespread in the mountains though is apparently less numerous in the Piedmont ("uncommon" on the Weakley [2018] map) than is A. reflexum, according to the maps in Weakley (2018). His range map shows A. reflexum to be "common" in the state's Piedmont, but "rare" in the mountains and Coastal Plain. Known specimens in the SERNEC database show only 6-7 counties in the Piedmont, though it is clear to the website editors that the species likely is found over most counties in the Piedmont. Thus, the editors have chosen to move all SERNEC records for A. canadense in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont to the A. reflexum map (as seen below).

Weakley (2018) give the range of this taxon as "CT west to s. MB, south to w. NC, KY, and AR."
AbundanceThis species/taxon is not in the NHP database, and the website editors have given a tentative [S4S5] State Rank, which translates to "Apparently secure" and with "100-1000 occurrences". However, Asarum spp. tend to be fairly common to locally common in most of the Piedmont, sparingly or locally into the western Coastal Plain, where mainly limited to brownwater river floodplains.
HabitatThis species is a good indicator of rich floodplain soils, primarily in bottomland forests of brownwater rivers. However, it also occurs on lower forest slopes where the soils are circumneutral, such as in Basic Mesic Forests. It also occurs on floodplain forested levees, especially where the sediments are very rich, such as along the upper Roanoke River and parts of the Cape Fear River. It often grows with Common Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) and Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin).
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a familiar bottomland forest species in the Piedmont, though mostly where rich and relatively undisturbed. It has two rounded leaves at ground level, with a brown to maroon flower at ground level, often buried in leaves, as with the other two Asarum taxa. In all three, you must have the flower to make a species determination. This taxon has the three sepals strongly flexed back and reflexed so much as to be essentially touching the sides of the calyx tube. The other two taxa have the calyx lobes spreading or ascending, well away from the sides of the calyx tube (cup at the base of the flower). Note that the many species of Hexastylis in NC have dark green, thick, and shiny evergreen leaves, mostly mottled with white veins or with pale green patches, as opposed to the thin, medium to bright green and deciduous leaves of the Asarum species, which are not mottled.
Taxonomic CommentsSee above. Most references do not recognize A. reflexum as a species, and hardly any even split A. canadense (broad sense) out into subspecies or varieties. Weakley (2018), however, does, and this website follows his taxonomy.

Other Common Name(s)None? The website editors coined the name of Reflexed Wild-ginger, based on the scientific epithet.
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