What Happens to Ginseng in Too Much Sun

Why is this ginseng turning yellow?

The other day I just so happened to be right where I needed to be to see why my little 2 year old ginseng was yellow. How serendipitous! It gave me the perfect opportunity to make a post about what happens to ginseng in too much sun.

Day before yesterday I went out to gather some ginseng plants for show and tell for a presentation I did at Compton Gardens yesterday.

It was a cloudy day with a shower threatening.

Most of the plants still looked pretty good, in spite of it being late in the season. There were even a few berries still clinging and some recently dropped to the ground.

Ginseng in mid-September
This ginseng still looks pretty good even late in season.
ginseng in mid-september
This 2-year old looks fine, too.

This one, though, looked pretty poor. The leaves are severely yellowed and although that happens late in season, this was the only one that looked that way.

pale ginseng seedling
Only this one was looking so pale and I wondered what was wrong with it. It’s a 2-year old plant.

And when I was almost ready to day, the clouds parted and a shaft of sunlight came down to the forest floor. Guess where it landed?

sun beam on pale ginseng 9-16-15
A shaft of sunlight landed squarely on this one plant. Only this one and not the others.

Shade is so important to ginseng that this one little beam of light can make a huge difference to the poor little ginseng in the way.

So amazing the impact a single sunbeam can have on a ginseng plant. Click To Tweet

The thing is, though, that this plant only recently turned yellow. I check on them throughout the growing season and previously it was fine.

However, with the season changing from summer to fall, the angles of the light have shifted.

Now the sunlight is hitting the ground in different places.

Unfortunately for that 2-year old, change burns. Luckily it’s the end of the growing season for it, though, and it will likely be fine next year.

As long as we don’t get an ice storm this year that knocks out some of the shade-casting treetops in that spot.



First Hunt by Ima ErthwitchPredator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.

Nature Farming

Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.

About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

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