Wild ginger

I’m so glad I spent time photographing wild ginger a couple weeks ago, now that I’m nursing a broken foot that’s preventing me from a deep exploration of my garden. I’ve been looking through those photos plus a few I found from last year.

The wild ginger stands out in my garden, before its neighboring summer-blooming flowers have started appearing.

Three flowering plants, each with two fuzzy leaves on long stems and a dark-red flower at their base.

This woodland plant has beautiful, heart-shaped leaves.

Overhead view of two large, heart-shaped leaves. The top heart is upside-down and the bottom leaf is right-side up.

Landscapers say this is an excellent groundcover. It spreads, but not too quickly.

Dozens of leaves taking up the entire frame.

This spot in my garden has roughly tripled in size in six years.

Wider view of two clumps of wild ginger.

Every year I see people comment on Instagram that they didn’t realize these plants have flowers. They hide really well!

Dark-red flower barely poking out under two big leaves.

The flowers are weird and wonderful.

Focus on a flower with three long, greenish, skinny sepals branching off a red flower, like legs running.

They’re close to the ground, sometimes even resting on the ground, which makes them attractive to ants that carry the seeds to new areas. The dark color and bad smell (which I cannot vouch for) apparently attract flies that pollinate the flowers.

Closeup of a flower that's on the ground.

The leaves start out lying flat.

A single leaf, looking like it's swaddled with a brown blanket.

Then the leaves pop up and the flower appears — like a sea creature poking out of its shell.

Ground view of the fully open flower, though only its two bottom sepals are visible, with its two leaves cradling the top.

Within a couple days, the leaves are fully grown. Sometimes they look like a pair of antennas.

One plant with its leaves sticking out in a V shape.

New plants apparently start out as teeny-tiny replicas. I’ll have to watch these next year to see if they’re “oldies” that will flower.

Six miniature plants with their leaves sticking straight up, no flowers, next to a quarter that is almost as big.

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