Native Orchid News:
The Newsletter of Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
Volume 5 Issue 3   May 2003
ISSN 1499-5476

photo by Richard Reeves Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
117 Morier Ave, Winnipeg MB R2M0C8

For more information contact Doris Ames at 231-1160 or e-mail

Field-Trip Schedule:
see our Field-Trips page

Rare Plant of the Month:
Wild Ginger   Asarum canadense


President's Report - Doris Ames

Our fifth Annual General Meeting was held on April 4, 2003.  Peggy Bainard Acheson, Bob Joyce and John E. Neufeld, whose terms were up, were re-elected to the board by acclamation.  Your new board is as follows:

Doris Ames - president
John E. Neufeld - vice-president
Alice Warren - secretary
Eugene Reimer - treasurer
Peggy Bainard Acheson - membership chair  
Bob Joyce - fieldtrip co-ordinator
Richard Reeves - newsletter editor

The proposed bylaw amendments were ratified by the membership.

Tim Swanson, Manitoba Conservation forester Eastern Region, gave an interesting talk on modern forest management.  He asked us to give his telephone number to you in case you had any ideas or comments you would like to pass on to him about forest management.  His phone number in Lac du Bonnet is  204-346-6116.  His e-mail address is

Please look at the schedule of field-trips for this summer and phone Bob if you are interested in coming along on some of them.  New members, sign up soon because we do not take large numbers on our field-trips and there is usually heavy demand for them.  This summer promises to be an interesting one as we carry on with our projects.  Every year is different and there are bound to be new and exciting discoveries ahead.  This will be the last newsletter until the fall.  We do not hold board meetings in July and August.  Have a great summer and I hope to see you out in the field.

NOCI Field-Trip Schedule 2003 - click needed.

Rare Plant of the Month (see cover photo)

Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Canadian wild ginger is a small plant and quite rare (S3).  Usually found in moist organic soil in hardwood forests, it grows in partial or full shade.  The two large, downy, heart-shaped leaves hide the inconspicuous brownish-red flower.  The flower has no petals but consists of three sepals joined together into a bell.  The flower grows very near the ground on a short stem in a crotch at the base of the two leaves.  Slugs, flies and crawling insects such as beetles are believed to be the pollinators.  Ants disperse the seeds.  The yellowish scented roots have the taste and smell of ginger although the plant is not related to the oriental spice.  Wild ginger can be easily propagated by dividing the roots and replanting on a riverbank that gets flooded in the spring.  First Nation people gather the roots in the fall and dry them.  They make a weak tea from the powdered dried roots to treat coughs and colds.  In times past, wild ginger was used by the Ojibway to keep meat from spoiling.  Studies done in the 1970's revealed the plant has antimicrobial properties.  At times this root tea was also used to treat 'jumpy heartbeat' or cardiac arrhythmia as well as to bring on menstruation.  First Nation people introduced the root to early pioneers who used the fresh or dried root boiled with sugar, as a pastry spice and ginger substitute.