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` Saruma henryi
Saruma henryi
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Saruma henryi
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How would you like to see Asarum canadense,  "Wild Ginger", on steroids??? Well that's the best way that I can think of to describe Saruma henryi.  I first saw Saruma henryi growing in Cole Burell's ice cold zone 4 garden in Minneapolis Minnesota in 1995. I knew if a plant could survive up there,   it could survive anywhere. He was kind enough to send me some seeds however,   I'm not sure what happened to them.  A few years later,  my friend Karl Rider of Meadowbrook Gardens in Meadowbrook PA generously gave me a large plant from a Morris Arboretum Plant Collecting trip to China.  I immediately put it into tissue culture where it proceeded to produce thousands of new plants.

Saruma henryi was discovered on a Chinese plant collection expedition in the early part of the 1900's by plant explorer Augustine Henry.  Who knows why it's taken so long to really get itself into cultivation?

Saruma is an anagram of the word Asarum,  Apparently,   they ran out of imagination when it came time to name it. It's a monotypic genus in the Aristolochiaceae family. The Aristolochiaceae family is home to the genus Asarum,  the deciduous "Wild Gingers" and Hexastylis,  the evergreen "Wild Gingers".  Also,  the genus Aristolochia, better known as the "Dutchman's Pipe".  Our East Coast native Aristolochia durior can climb a hundred feet into the top of a tree and makes a really neat spiral around the branches.  The flowers resemble little pipes.  Check out a picture at  http://www.rodsguide.com/wildflowers/pages/ dutchman%27s_pipe.html

If you would like to know more about the fascinating Aristolochiaceae family you can go to the following link : http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/anthophyta/pal eoherbs/aristolochiales.html

Other than tissue culture,  I don't have much experience in propagation of this species,  but from what I understand,  it self sows abundantly and is very easy from cuttings.  Most plants that are easy from cuttings are best propagated prior to flowering as there are hormonal changes during flowering that can make rooting difficult.

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass - Magnoliidae
Order - Aristolochiales
Family - Aristolochiaceae
Genus - Saruma
Species - henryi
Common name - genus - ????
Common name - species - ???
Synonyms - ???
Native of - China
USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 4
Light preference - Light shade to light sun
Soil preference - Average to rich
Moisture preference - Average to moist
Bloom time - Early Spring
Bloom color - Yellow
Foliage - Medium green, cordate (heart shaped)
Spread - 12" - 36"
Height - 12" - 24"
Landscape uses - Massing in a shady or woodland garden
Medicinal uses - None that I have found

2002 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
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E-mail: barry@sunfarm.com

Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/sarumahenryi-051035.phtml