Buffalo Creek The Buffalo Creek Outdoor Education Facility located next to the Carrollton Ag Center in Carrollton, GA. It is comprised of approximately 40 acres.
Demonstration Bed The Native Plant Demonstration Bed is located in the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, at the back entrance to Buffalo Creek Outdoor Education Facility, past the Carrollton Ag Center, in Carrollton, GA.
Little Tallapoosa Park Prior to the park's development, we moved plants from areas that would be developed, to areas that would be left natural. This project is completed.
Hexastylis arifolia
    ( Hexastylis        arifolia )
Wild Ginger, Heartleaf Ginger, Little Brown Jug, taken on January 4, 2004.
Photo Credit: Mike Strickland

Wild gingers are primarily grown for their sensational foliage. The attractive, heart-shaped leaves are pale, whitish green with dark green veins and margins, the opposite of its close relative, Hexastylis shuttleworthii, which has dark green leaves and whitish green venation. The plants are slow-growing and remain in isolated clusters spreading by rhizomes. The common name Heartleaf refers to their shape, while the common name Little Brown Jug refers to the unusual flowers.

The flowers, usually present in mid-to-late spring, are interesting, but are not particularly showy. They are brownish red to purple, urn shaped "little brown jugs". The flowers are rarely seen, as they are located beneath the foliage and barely open enough for pollinators such as ants and other small crawling insects, to creep inside. The seeds are encased in a fleshy coating known as eliasome. Ants take the seeds back to their nest so that they can eat the nutritious coating, thus dispersing the seeds into different areas.

Hexastylis arifolia roots were used as flavoring by Native Americans, but it is not related to Zingiber officinale, the ginger that is typically used in Asian cooking and as a medicinal.

Common uses for this plant include: Wild gingers can be used as a groundcover under trees and in front of taller plants in larger plantings. They lend variation to the shade garden and thrive in full to partial shade, but will burn if planted in full sun. Since the Wild Ginger leaves are visible year-round, they provide interest in the garden during the winter months. Winter's cold turns the leaves a tone of purple.

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