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Plant Details

Panax quinquefolius

Ginseng, American Ginseng, "Sang"

Scientific Name:

Panax quinquefolius

Genus:

Panax

Species Epithet:

quinquefolius

Common Name:

Ginseng, American Ginseng, "Sang"

Plant Type

Herb/Wildflower

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

1-3 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

White

Light:

Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Less than 2 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist

Bloom Time:

May, June

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

“Cove forests, mesic hardwood forests, generally in nutrient-rich forests though tending to avoid the richest coves” (Weakley 2015). Uncommon in NC Mountains and Piedmont; rare in Coastal Plain.

Leaf Arrangement:

Basal

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Compound

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S3: Vulnerable, S4: Apparently secure (*Key)

Global Rank:

(*Key)

State Status:

W1: Watch List: Rare but Relatively Secure, Exploited (*Key)

Notes:

"P. quinquefolius is gathered in quantity throughout its range for the herbal trade; most of the North American harvest is shipped to China, where it is prized for medicinal uses. Dried roots command prices in excess of $500 per kilogram; in our area, "sang" is a multimillion dollar industry. Formerly abundant and occurring in large populations, P. quinquefolius has been reduced in most of its range to small populations of scattered individuals, a classic example of a "predator-prey" relationship. Collection and trade in ginseng is monitored and regulated in most states. In NC, it is illegal for ginseng dealers to buy ginseng from collectors before September; this allows the plants to mature fruits prior to collection." Weakley 2015
NC Natural Heritage Program State Status: W1, Exploited; NC Rank S3S4; Global Rank G3G4

Plant

image

Tom Harville

Taken from above, you see the classic 5 leaflet shape.

Roots on the Plant

image

Martha Baskin

I've heard that the more rings you can see on the root, the older it is and more prized.

Green Berries

image

Tom Harville

Ripe Berries

image

Tom Harville

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record

NC Dept of Agriculture


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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