Stratified ginseng seeds have already spent one year in storage, usually with the berries still encasing them. A common way to stratify them is to put the berries layered in sand in a bucket with drainage holes. This bucket is kept in a cool, moist, and shady location until the following year. Then the sand is sifted through screens which trap the seeds. The berries have decomposed and all that’s left are the seeds, debris, and sand. The seeds pictured are “smiling”, which means they’re getting ready to sprout. After stratifying for one year, then planted the following autumn, the seeds will sprout in spring, usually in late April here in the Ozarks. So seeds naturally falling from a plant will take two years before emerging as a seedling. Purchased seeds have usually undergone the first year in a bucket, if you’ve bought “stratified” seeds.