Asarum europaeum L.

1130. A. europaeum L., Sp.Pl. ed. 1 (1753) 442; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. I (1924) 291 — Европейски копитник

Fam:   Aristolochiaceae Juss.
Genus: Asarum L. 
Species: Asarum europaeum L.
English Name: Asarabacca, European wild ginger, Hazelwort, and Wild spikenard


A perennial plant. Rhizome thick, creeping, branched. Stems short, 2 - 5 (10) cm long, lying down or rising slightly in, covered with long, unbranched hairs, at the base with 3 ovate, brown, 1 - 2 cm long flakes and 2, rarely 3 brought closer wintering, with long stems leaves. Leaves (2.5) 5 - 10 cm wide, kidney, to rounded, wider than long, deep heart-shaped at the base, obtuse, entire, dark green, shiny, leather-coated on both sides and especially veins with short lies close cloth. Petiole much longer than lamina. The flowers single located on the top. Perianth simple bell-shaped, about 15 mm long, greenish red outside, inside violet brown, fibrous, tripartite; shares triangular ovate, almost half the length of the tube, the top tapered involute. Stamens 12, with extended styliform growths. Ovary inferior. The bars 6, fused at the base in striated column, atop expanded in a stigma. with six rays. Box 6-well, with remnants of dried perianth on top. Seeds about 3 mm long, triangular-ovate, slightly flattened, greyish brown, slightly rugged, with wide and deep groove and serrated in pod.

Economic importance. Medical plant. Rhizomes and roots contain up to 1% essential oil, the composition of which shall volatiles poisonous substance azoron. It also contains glycosides and alkaloids Azarias, increasing arterial blood pressure, shrinking peripheral vessels, increasing tonus of the veins.
From „Флора на НР България”, том IV, БАН, София, (1970)

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Asarum europaeum, commonly known as asarabacca, European wild ginger, hazelwort, and wild spikenard, is a species of wild ginger (unrelated to the rhizome spice ginger) with single axillary dull purple flowers, lying on the ground. It is widespread across Europe, ranging from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy and the Republic of Macedonia. It is also grown extensively outside of its range as an ornamental. It is sometimes harvested for use as a spice or a flavoring.[1][2]
The stems are 10–15 cm long. The leaves are petiolate and reniform and about 10 cm wide. It occurs mostly in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests, especially in calcareous soils. There are two recognised subspecies other than the type, including A. europaeum ssp. caucasicum, which is confined to the southwestern Alps, and A. europaeum ssp. italicum, which is found in central and northern Italy as well as in the Skopska Crna Gora mountains. In former days, it was used in snuff and also medicinally as an emetic and cathartic. It is quite shade-tolerant and is often employed as a ground cover in gardens where little else will grow.


The plant is a perennial and has prostrate stems that each bear 2 reniform (i.e. kidney-shaped) leaves with long petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and they have a pepper-like taste and smell. There are also 2 to 3 stipules present that occur in two rows opposite each other on the stem. the flowers are solitary, terminal and nodding. The flower tube is composed of fused tepals that ends with 3 petal-like projections that are brownish towards their ends and dark purple toward the centre. There are 12 stamens present. The flowers emerge in the late winter and spring.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Asarum europaeum has a wide distribution in Europe. It ranges from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It is absent from the British Isles and Scandinavia with the exception of southern Finland, and also from northwestern Germany[3] and the Netherlands. Within Europe, the plant is grown outside of its range in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.[4]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: III - VI.

References: „Флора на НР България”, том IV, БАН, София, (1970), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Distribution in Bulgaria: Grows in moist, shady, mostly beech forests. Widespread in the foothills and lower mountain belt up to 1200 m altitude. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Europe (excluding the north and islands) Mediterranean, Siberia.

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is - Medicinal Plants Act -

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