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SPECIES: Asarum caudatum
Robert Potts © California Academy of Sciences
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Gucker, Corey L. 2004. Asarum caudatum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/asacau/all.html .
NRCS PLANT CODE :
British Columbia wildginger
The scientific name of British Columbia wildginger is Asarum caudatum Lindl. (Aristolochiaceae) [25,26,29,33,36,45,47].
When literature is cited that refers to Asarum spp. by
genus only and does not specify species, it is indicated as wildginger (Asarum
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
Shrub and subshrub species commonly found with British Columbia wildginger include: baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), big huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum), twinflower (Linnaea borealis) and Oregon boxwood (Paxistima myrsinites). Forbs commonly associated with British Columbia wildginger include: ladyfern (Athyrium filix-femina), devilsclub (Oplopanax horridus), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), pioneer violet (Viola glabella), western sword fern (Polystichum munitum), oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), Idaho goldthread (Coptis occidentalis), drops of gold (Disporum hookeri), American trailplant (Adenocaulon bicolor), and threeleaf foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata) [14,32,38,44].
British Columbia wildginger is recognized as a dominant species in many vegetation classifications including:
Western regions: 
British Columbia wildginger is a short-statured, native perennial that is considered
evergreen in most of its range. British Columbia wildginger produces slender, elongate, shallow
rhizomes that allow for a spreading to highly-matted growth form. The heart- or
kidney-shaped leaves occur 2 per node and measure 1.5 to 4 inches (4 -10 cm)
long by up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide. A ginger odor is released through
rubbing or crushing the leaves. Fruits are capsules containing several seeds. Seeds
have a fleshy appendage and are dispersed by ants. British Columbia wildginger produces rhizomes
that grow to just 0.7 inches (18 mm) long [10,20,26,27,34,48]. Cates  indicates
that 2 British Columbia wildginger morphological types exist. One type flowers earlier, produces more
seeds and tends to be found on wetter sites while the other type flowers later,
produces less seed, and often occupies drier sites.
RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
British Columbia wildginger produces rhizomes and seeds and both are a means of reproduction. Muir  found that asexual reproduction was less costly to wildginger (Asarum spp.) than sexual reproduction. Reproducing sexually requires that energy be transferred from growth and nutrient storage to flower and seed production .
Breeding system: British Columbia wildginger flowers are both perfect and protogynous . Autogamy is predominant .
Pollination: Cross-pollination was found to be rare in northern California populations and was thought to be due to the lack of nectar and fragrance produced by British Columbia wildginger flowers .
Seed production: The fruit capsules of wildginger (Asarum spp.) begin dropping seeds in early summer .
Seed dispersal: The appendage of British Columbia wildginger seed is rich in an ant-attracting oil . Ants carry the seed to their nests, feed on the seed appendages, discard the seed in piles, and effectively disperse British Columbia wildginger seed.
Seed banking: No information is available on this topic.
Germination: No information is available on this topic.
Seedling establishment/growth: British Columbia wildginger has been described as slow growing 
British Columbia wildginger has rhizomes and often forms mats of vegetation [27,48]. Sprouting
from rhizomes in relation to disturbance was not discussed in the literature.
British Columbia wildginger occupies moist, shady woodlands of low- to mid-montane regions [27,32,34].
Climate: The winter climate where British Columbia wildginger occurs has been described as mild; temperatures are normally 15 to 25° F (8-14° C) . Precipitation falls predominantly in the winter and spring months as rain or deep snow at the higher elevations, and humidity levels are typically high. Summers months are dry; July and August normally receive less than 1 inch (25 mm) of rainfall for the month. Dry thunderstorms are more common during these times .
Soils: Silt to loam soils are described for most habitat types characterized by British Columbia wildginger . Depths from 8 to 73 inches (20-185 cm) were reported and pH ranged from 4.5 to 7.1.
Oregon and Washington: British Columbia wildginger is common within the Douglas-fir-western white pine communities of the Blue Mountains. These communities occur from 4,921 to 6,562 feet (1,500-2,000 m) elevation and receive on average 25 to 45 inches (635-1,140 mm) of precipitation annually . The western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger plant association occurs at low to moderate elevations (2,200 to 3,400 feet (670-1,036 m)), on north, west, and southwest aspects with moderate slopes (1-57%). Western hemlock/vine maple (Acer circinatum) /British Columbia wildginger plant associations occur between 2,140 and 2,730 feet (652-832 m) elevation, on most aspects with 1-48% slope, and on less moist soils than western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger .
Northern Idaho: The western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger habitat type,
considered the most productive of the western hemlock areas, can be found on any
slope or landform from 2,200 to 5,000 feet (670-1,520 m) . Western
redcedar/British Columbia wildginger habitat types are considered highly productive and occur
on all aspects and landforms, primarily occupying moderate slopes (8-25 degrees)
between 2,200 and 5,200 ft (670-1,590 m). Within cedar-hemlock forests, British Columbia wildginger
occurred with higher frequency when tree cover was greater than 41% than when tree
cover was less than 10% and had significantly higher frequency when shrub cover was
less than 30% . The grand fir/British Columbia wildginger habitat type occurs at elevations as
low as 4,200 feet (1,280 m) and as high as 6,000 feet (1,829 m) [14,18]. The Pacific
yew/British Columbia wildginger habitat type occurs on warmer sites and on shallower soils than the
grand fir/British Columbia wildginger habitat type
British Columbia wildginger can be present in most successional communities. This species was the most dominant forb species in 80+ year old stands of spruce-fir forests of northern Idaho [53,54]. British Columbia wildginger has been described as shade tolerant [27,34,48] and as a climax species by some [29,45].
The available literature suggests that British Columbia wildginger is commonly absent from
very early seral communities. British Columbia wildginger is rarely found in clearcut
areas of northern Idaho conifer forests , suggesting an intolerance
of very early seral conditions. It is also common to find British Columbia wildginger associated with
western larch and western white pine, both of which are present in a variety of
seral stages [22,23]. Researchers  attempted to determine
successional pathways within the grand fir/British Columbia wildginger habitat type following a
variety of disturbances. Areas that had been clearcut and broadcast burned
producing mid- to high-severity fires were not colonized by British Columbia wildginger until
after progressing through the herbaceous structural stage. In some areas
following the same treatments, British Columbia wildginger was not present until the community
had progressed through the sapling or pole stage of development. Yet, when areas
were burned in low- to mid-severity wildfires and the overstory community
remained intact, British Columbia wildginger persisted . This suggests British Columbia wildginger
is present in those seral stages that contain some overstory canopy but is not a
In low elevation sites of northern California, the British Columbia wildginger flowering season was late February to June . In Oregon flowering was later, occurring from April to July .
Fire regimes: The fire regime for British Columbia wildginger is dictated by the overstory community. Prior to 1900, grand fir communities are characterized as having mixed and stand-replacing fire regimes . Smith  highlights the extreme variation within grand fir habitat types. This includes frequent fires that create persistent shrub communities and areas where no evidence of past fire has been located . Western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger habitat types experienced infrequent, high-severity fires at 100 to 200 year intervals . Presettlement fire regimes in northern Idaho for the western redcedar and western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger habitat types have been described as stand replacing with long fire return intervals that have been attributed to the moist understory conditions and the build-up of continuous fuels . However, small understory burns have been described as well.
The following list provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where British Columbia wildginger may be found. It may not be inclusive. Find further fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|silver fir-Douglas-fir||Abies amabilis-Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||> 200|
|grand fir||Abies grandis||35-200 |
|tamarack||Larix laricina||35-200 |
|western larch||Larix occidentalis||25-350 [4,8,16]|
|western white pine*||Pinus monticola||50-200|
|Pacific ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa||1-47 |
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [3,7,36]|
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [3,5,6]|
|coastal Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||40-240 [3,41,50]|
|California mixed evergreen||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii||< 35 |
|redwood||Sequoia sempervirens||5-200 [3,19,62]|
|western redcedar-western hemlock||Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla||> 200|
|western hemlock-Sitka spruce||Tsuga heterophylla-Picea sitchensis||> 200|
|mountain hemlock*||Tsuga mertensiana||35 to > 200 |
The 1st year following a high-severity, stand-replacing fire in northern Idaho
forests, British Columbia wildginger was found on just 1 of 21 postburn plots . The British Columbia wildginger found was a seedling and did not flower that 1st postburn year . In a
study designed to determine successional pathways following disturbance within
the grand fir/British Columbia wildginger habitat type, British Columbia wildginger was found in all but the
earliest seral communities following fire and clearcutting that produce fires
of varying severities .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
No additional information is available on this topic.
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
No additional information is available on this topic.
Western hemlock/British Columbia wildginger sites do not provide for livestock grazing; just 50 lbs/acre of herbage is produced annually .
Palatability/nutritional value: British Columbia wildginger is palatable to slugs .
Cover value: No information is available on this topic.VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
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4. Arno, Stephen F.; Gruell, George E. 1983. Fire history at the forest-grassland ecotone in southwestern Montana. Journal of Range Management. 36(3): 332-336. 
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