Ginseng

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natureman

Senior Member
Some of my ginseng plants grown from Tuckasegee Valley NC collected seed over 20 years ago. I grow it to keep the plant from going extinct in GA from over collection. In all my journeys through the woods in the GA mountains over 40 years I have never come across a single wild plant. During late summer/fall the leaves turn a bright yellow making it easy to spot in the woods.

ginseng1
by Natureman29, on Flickr
 
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is the "flower" part of the plant ? or from a deferent plant ?
That's the remains of the flower/fruiting structure after the berries are gone. Ginseng has a ball of red berries on it in early fall.
 
I've always been fascinated by sang. And it's not nearly as rare as it's made out to be. If you know what you're looking for, you can usually find a few plants just about anywhere in suitable habitat.

Around here, overharvesting isn't the big deal. Development and cattle grazing are the two main threats. I can show you many, many hollers that used to be full of sang that are now full of high-dollar homes and summer homes.

The biggest threat from harvesting is pretty new around here: Hispanics. I've dug sang all my life. Like almost everyone around here, I was taught growing up to not dig until the berries are ripe, don't dig the same area every year, always replant the seeds, and don't dig the little one and two prong plants. There are hollers that I have dug for nearly fifty years that still have a good sang population.

Then the immigrants figured out they could sell it, and they go out in large groups starting as soon as it sprouts in the spring, and dig every sprig of it they find.
 
We won't even talk about those stupid, opposite of reality Discovery shows about sang digging. :)
 
Hate to say it NC, but I've had just as much trouble with long time resident poachers as I have the undocumented ones.
Figure the "Un-Reality" shows are going to make this as bad as anvil pricing and FIF.

It's always something, but at least there is a local rumor about a crazy indian living in my cabin that shoots at whatever bothers him.....
 

Nicodemus

FREELANCE ADMINISTRATOR
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Sounds worse than the folks picking swamp palmetto berries down here.
 
Was in a State park somewhere in GA with my camera taking pictures of wildflowers. Park ranger came along and took me to a small patch of ginseng. Guess he figured a picture taker meant no harm. He was right. Now I don't even remember where it was! I'm a flatlander and that's the only patch I've ever seen.
 
Thread starter #15
The cultivated (cheap) ginseng is used in many energy drinks and health supplements. There are huge fields of it grown in Michigan. The supposed benefits are:
  • Potent Antioxidant That May Reduce Inflammation.
  • May Benefit Brain Function.
  • Could Improve Erectile Dysfunction.
  • May Boost the Immune System.
  • May Have Potential Benefits Against Cancer.
  • May Fight Tiredness and Increase Energy Levels.
  • Could Lower Blood Sugar.
Most wild American ginseng roots (expensive) harvested in the United States is shipped to Hong Kong and China where it has significant economic and cultural importance. In the past 20 years I have seen prices for wild vary from $300-$1200 a dried pound. It takes a lot of root to make a pound. 50+ year-old roots are prized. IMO it is not practical to grow wild or simulated wild ginseng as your only source of income. But it is an interesting and addictive hobby. A good site to learn about it is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ginsengdiggers/ DNR regulates its collection https://georgiawildlife.com/ginsengprogram

The really good wild ginseng comes from TN, NC, KY, VA, NY where it grows in rich black soil. My ginseng is growing in clay which produces a less desirable root.
 
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