An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Dwarf Ginseng Flowering

5-21-18 dwarf ginseng2

This perennial wildflower is 3-8” tall and graces the forest floor at this time of year with its globular mass of tiny, white flowers. Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) is related to the Ginseng used for herbal medicine, but because it’s not used for this purpose, its population is not threatened like that of its larger relative.

The flowers of some plants are all staminate (male), while the flowers of other plants are perfect (male & female). You can distinguish them from each other by closely examining the flower parts. Each staminate flower has a single non-functional style (stalk that connects the pollen-collecting stigma with the ovary), while each perfect flower has 3 styles. Individual plants are capable of changing their gender from year-to-year. (Photo: staminate Dwarf Ginseng flowers)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.

 

 

5 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    So dainty….another plant I’ve never seen…

    May 21, 2018 at 8:14 am

  2. Pingback: 20180518-19, Yellow Warblers, Catbirds, Cooper’s Hawk and ephemerals in the rain | Brtthome's Blog

  3. Kathryn

    Such a pretty little plant. I’ll be on the lookout.

    May 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

  4. How lovely!
    And I love the gender fluidity fact. Any idea what would cause a plant to make that change, in a particular year? Or does it seem to be random, with no “why”?

    May 21, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    • I honestly don’t know. I do know that jack-in-the-pulpit also changes gender, and that is dependent upon the availability of nutrients (more = female, in order to make seeds). Perhaps that affects dwarf ginseng’s gender as well?

      May 22, 2018 at 8:40 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s