Our 19th Annual Photo Contest is now open for entries. You can submit your best images HERE

Crow-dipper, Ban xia

Pinellia ternata

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pinellia (pie-NEL-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: ternata (ter-NAY-tuh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From bulbils

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Merced, California

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Ambler, Pennsylvania

Brookhaven, Pennsylvania

Flourtown, Pennsylvania

Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania(4 reports)

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Cabin Creek, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 4, 2019, chrisJune from Berkeley, CA wrote:

I'm an acupuncturist and YES this is a very popular herb for GI issues but you have to prepare it correctly otherwise its toxic. I will include a link if you want to read up on it. But I agree contact your local acupuncturists and if they are into herbs they will probably buy it off you, or better yet contact a banxia herbal distributor, they would love to be able to get it locally(U.S.).


sorry that its taking over your gardens though :)


On May 22, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Anyone who's grown this in their garden for several years reviles this as a loathsome ineradicable weed. Plants reproduce most readily by bulbils produced in the leaf axils (in addition to seed), a trait all too common among the species of this genus.

According to BONAP, this species has naturalized in California, Ontario, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio.


On Apr 29, 2015, sidonie from Portland, OR wrote:

It may be an invasive plant, but it is excellent medicine. I'm not sure how to prepare the bulbs (called Ban Xia in Traditional Chinese Medicine), but I have been taking a formula who's base herb is this guy for a week now and it has done wonders for my depression!!! So, if you have this invader in your yard, perhaps you might try contacting a Chinese herbalist; they might be very interested in helping you uproot and harvest the rhizome, and thus help keep your invasion under control, or even eliminated! Personally, I wouldn't mind gettin my hands on this guy for some contained indoor cultivation, since it's a no fuss plant that is beautiful and needs very little sunlight. Plus, how cool would it be to grow my own anti-depressants?!


On May 28, 2013, zanejr from Cabin Creek, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

I didn't know this one was cold hardy, but its pretty when it blooms. I've always kept it in my greenhouse every winter. The thing I like about it is the bulbs can be removed from the leaves and planted seperately to make new plants. The spadix looks like a big tongue coming out of the spathe's mouth like a snake, very nice!


On May 16, 2013, mnist from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

Pinellia ternata is a cancer here in the Northeast U.S. Once it's in a bed, you might just as well put in a lawn and forget it.

Last summer I tried that idea of cutting the leaves off as soon as they appeared (stirrup hoes make that somewhat easy) but no luck -- the plant rebounds by dividing bulblets and rhizomes faster than ever.

This year my plan was to methodically dig the bulbs out of sections of beds one by one. But because the leaf stems are weak and break off before you can get to the bulb, I soon realized I missed almost as many as I found. All my tedious work was almost for nothing. If there's a single bulb left in your garden, you have failed because it'll come back with a vengeance.

And don't forget the seeds under the soil line wa... read more


On Mar 1, 2013, TCMGardener from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

While you are all certainly correct that this is a very invasive weed. It is also a very useful one for those of us who practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The rhizome of Pinellia ternata is known as Ban Xia in TCM, and regularly used for a variety of conditions. It is toxic unless prepared by someone who knows the traditional methods of reducing the toxicity using ginger or salts. As with all invasives, care should be taken if you intend to grow it to insure that it doesn't take over things. One man's noxious weed is another man's medication.


On Jun 4, 2012, merion from Merion Station, PA wrote:

This weed has invaded my garden. It is everywhere. I covered several beds with paper for 2 years but it has returned because of roots from adjacent areas. I am at my wit's end.


On May 30, 2011, libgardener from Ambler, PA wrote:

This plant is mostly definitely an incredibly invasive weed. In three years it has overtaken a well-established perennial bed. In checking with local garden supplier (Primex) the recommendation is to cut the leaves continuously over several growing seasons. Because of its extensive underground root system pulling the plants up won't help. By cutting the leaves the plant will expend its energy in new leaf growth rather than root growth (hopefully).

No responsible gardener should be selling or trading this plant!!


On May 28, 2011, chill750 from Villanova, PA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is not a plant - it is a highly invasive weed which is impossible to get rid of. And it is spreading throughout my acre of land somehow. Hand digging seems to be the only way to eliminate it before it totally infests a garden bed. Wait too long and it is impossible. It will grow through 6" of mulch. If anyone has a method of eliminating it I would love to know it. Herbicudes do not work. Any nursery that sells this plant is irresponsible. I no longer give away plant divisions for fear of spreading this demon which has robbed me of much of my love of gardening.