How Does Ginseng Look in Fall? Here’s how it looks in the Ozarks in October

I get questions from readers often, mostly about how to find ginseng or to ask for help in identifying whether what they’ve found is ginseng or not. Right now, though, people are asking “How does ginseng look in fall?”

Many are surprised to learn that it changes colors with the season.  Here in the Ozarks, our ginseng can start turning yellow in late September. This year, colors seem to be running a bit later and it’s only just now beginning to turn. Today is Oct. 5.

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How Does Ginseng Look in Fall

How does ginseng look in fall? It sometimes turns bright greenish-yellow, making it easier to spot in the woods.
Ginseng turns greenish-yellow in fall, sometimes making it easier to spot.

Most of the time by October the berries have long since fallen. I found one plant today with a berry still clinging.

This is how ginseng looks in fall: A bug-eaten and yellowing 3-prong with one berry still clinging.
A bug-eaten and yellowing 3-prong with one berry still clinging.

If the plants aren’t yellow yet, they’re very often bug-eaten and pretty ratty looking.

I find American ginseng to be a beautiful plant all year, but sometimes near the end of her growth cycle she takes on a certain glow. It looks as if this mature 4-prong is basking in her golden year-end, even if she does look a bit worse for the wear:

American ginseng in October. This is a wild-simulated plant growing wild in the forest at Wild Ozark. There is no difference between wild and "wild-simulated" except that the seed was placed in that spot by me, rather than falling from a mother plant or carried by a bird.
American ginseng in October. This is a wild-simulated plant growing wild in the forest at Wild Ozark.

 

Defining “Wild-Simulated”

When native berries are planted, or at least seeds purchased from a grower of a similar ginseng, there is no visual difference between the roots of our wild and “wild-simulated” except that the seed was placed in that spot by a human, rather than falling from a mother plant or carried by a bird.

There are some visual differences in different varieties of ginseng, although most of the people I know with knowledge of ginseng claim there is only one variety of ginseng and that it has no other iterations. From what I’ve seen, though, ginseng that grows in some parts of the country have longer flower stems and the berry clusters are held high above the plant.

Our native ginseng berry clusters are usually closer to the leaves. I would notice an unusual-looking plant in our habitats. I would know it wasn’t wild if I had used seeds from those with the taller flower stems. Unless you can see that the plant isn’t a local variety, without genetic testing it would be impossible to know what is true wild and what is wild-simulated.

Wild-simulated is planted in a way to mimic nature, in groupings or small colonies in habitats that would ordinarily support wild ginseng.

This is not the same as “woods grown”.  Woods grown is grown in the woods in places wild or wild-simulated would also grow, but usually in rows or beds or swaths to make harvesting easier. Woods grown is also sometimes planted in tilled beds or treated with fertilizers or herbicides and pesticides.

 

Here’s the same plant later in October of the same year:

ginseng in october
Click the photo to enlarge.

The Companions Change in Appearance, Too

Blue cohosh can’t even be found by this time of year. It’s already died back and withered into the leaf cover.

Doll’s Eyes (White Baneberry), or Actaea pachypoda, has ripe fruits still waiting to drop onto the ground. You can see how the common name was derived, though a doll with those eyes would be pretty freaky looking.

Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda) with ripe berries in October.

Bloodroot is getting harder to find because many of them have also returned to ground, but here and there a tattered leaf remains to mark the spot:

Bloodroot in early October at Wild Ozark.

Here’s goldenseal on the 18th of October:

Goldenseal on October 18, 2016.
Goldenseal on October 18, 2016.

Rattlesnake fern questions what all the fuss is about. This one is putting on seeds (spores) as if nothing unusual is happening. These and grape ferns never die back, but sometimes a frost will give a bronze cast to the ground-hugging fronds.

Rattlesnake fern, sometimes called a "pointer fern" because it grows with ginseng.
Rattlesnake fern, sometimes called a “pointer fern” because it grows with ginseng.

Even the Look-Alikes Change Colors

The Virginia creeper mimics ginseng all year long, even in early fall. But in late fall it comes time to show true colors. It turns red sometimes later on, which ginseng never does.

Virginia creeper is a ginseng look-alike.

This Ohio Buckeye leaf is stunning in red:

ohio-buckeye-in-october

Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour through the ginseng woods with me today. This little hike actually took place yesterday but I’m just now getting around to making the post. This morning it’s raining.



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Ginseng Growing Season is Winding Down, Digging Winding Up

Ginseng Growing Season

The ginseng growing season is winding down now. The plants set berries earlier and most of them have ripened and fallen to the ground already. Some of the plants will soon begin turning yellow most years. We’ve had so much rain and such a mild summer, though, that I’m curious to see if that has affected the way the plants look.

Digging Season

Digging season is winding up for those who aren’t concerned about the prices their roots will bring. We don’t dig roots for market, but if we did, I wouldn’t dig until I knew the prices were good enough to make the time and effort of digging it worthwhile.

In my opinion, it’s better to leave old plants in the ground so they can produce another round of offspring than it is to dig during low demand years. But we dig very few roots at all, and never the old ones. Our focus here is on selling seedlings and seeds, not roots. So our perspective on digging is perhaps a bit different.

Those old ones are the colony matriarchs and they usually set the most berries for new plants. We don’t have enough of the old wild ones left to spare any to sell as roots. Perhaps in a few years or so I’ll reconsider and make limited quantities of our wild-simulated available as fresh roots for local consumers.

But some diggers will just make an effort to dig more, instead. That would make up for the difference in price per pound – just bring more pounds to the market.

Usually low prices of any traded good means there is either low demand or over-supply.  The case with ginseng this year, according to the dealers who have shared information with me, is both. The demand is lower because of overseas economy. And there is over-supply. Many dealers still have dried roots to sell from the previous season.

So digging more to make up for lower prices is only setting up the same problems for the next season. It also puts a greater stress on an already endangered plant.

Ginseng Has a Season

Did you know ginseng has a season when it’s legal to hunt, just like deer or rabbits? It does. Season opens on Sept. 1 and ends Dec. 1. There is also “poaching”. Poaching is digging out of season, or digging illegally on private or public land.

The national forests in most states are closed to ginseng digging so it’s considered poaching to dig in those locations. Diggers need permission from private landowners, otherwise it’s poaching if they’re trespassing to dig.

For the past several days, beginning before the Sept. 1 opening date, I’ve passed a parked vehicle on our county road. It’s always parked in areas that look as if they’d be good ginseng locations. Each day it’s parked in a different spot. I’m not familiar with the vehicle and ordinarily the traffic is so low on our road that we (the residents) can usually tell who’s who.

I’m hoping this isn’t someone scouring the woods for ginseng. And I hope they don’t get closer to what’s left of the wild ginseng growing in our own woods. I never see anyone around the vehicle, but I would stop and talk to them to try and find out who they are and what they’re doing here if I did.

Ginseng in September

This is how ginseng looks in September. Today I’ll try to get out to the woods where there is some ginseng growing for some photographs to show you how it looks this year. It’s been dry the past week, but until now the weather has been unusually wet. We’ve had more rain than I can ever remember having in a spring and summer, so I’m curious to see how it’s doing.

Previous Year, Sept. 16, 2015

Ginseng growing in mid-September
This ginseng still looks pretty good even late in season.

This Year, Sept. 6, 2016

I’ll try to get another one on the 16th so we can see the same day, different year comparison.

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Slugs and Dragons and Ginseng, Oh My! Wild Ozark Creations

I’ve been working on a few new Wild Ozark creations lately. This creative streak seems to have no end in sight, either, because ideas just keep coming and I keep feeling compelled to follow them through.

Slugs

This is the latest drawing I’ve done. The digital and print rights (for business branding, not art prints) and print #1/100 have been sold already, but there are still 99 prints available. I had so much fun doing this drawing, because it made me see poison ivy and slugs in an entirely new light. Whoever knew the two of them could be beautiful together?

Slug on Poison Ivy
Slug on Poison Ivy

Dragons

I’ve been photographing a particular green dragon (Arisaema dracontium) over the past few years, trying to get good photos of all the various phases. A couple of years ago, I even had seeds that I’d gathered from it sprout.

So I was finally able to complete a creative thing that’s been waiting a long time – The Dragon Life Storyboard:

A poster showing the growth phases of a green dragon plant.
A poster showing the growth phases of a green dragon plant.

You can get this poster at our Wild Ozark online shop: https://shop.wildozark.com/shop/posters-of-ozark-plants/. If you know any science teachers who might like to decorate a classroom, send them my way!

You can read more about Green Dragons on one of my earlier posts.

Ginseng

So then I thought, “Well, I can’t have a dragon storyboard without a ginseng one too!”

Story of Ginseng
Story of Ginseng

Pressed Leaves

And for ginseng I also have been making pressed leaves. Some of them are laminated so they’re durable enough to take to the woods. Some I’ll mount on fine art paper for framing.  Only the laminated ones are posted to the shop so far. They’re $10.

Mature ginseng leaf prong

Fiction

I’ve been working on my novel and am getting excited by how it’s going. Here’s the story line for that:

Bounty Hunter is a rural adventure fantasy set in post-collapse northwest Arkansas. There’s a rift in the Universal fabric that the Feds aren’t telling anyone about, but it’s the main reason martial law is still in effect. Treya is training to be an assassin for ARSA, a covert government agency headquartered in Bentonville. Punishment isn’t that the criminals are put to death. It’s that they’re killed three times to force them into successively lower incarnations. Treya has to learn how to use her innate gifts that enable her to track a person throughout their incarnations, whether they’re human or not.

Your Turn!

So tell me what projects you’ve been working on? Send links if you have posts about them or Etsy listings or whatever and I’ll link to them. My email address is [email protected]

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

In preparation for next month’s talk at the Fayetteville Public Library’s Try FPL Series, I’ll be transplanting ginseng seedlings to pots. Each member of the audience will get to take one home. That event is on Wed, June 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville Public Library in downtown Fayetteville, AR. This event is free and open to the public.

nature journal workshop flierComing up before the ginseng event is a Nature Journaling workshop at The Place on the Square in Kingston, AR. Each participant of that event will be guided through a journal entry with a nature sketch and they’ll get one of my Nature Journals to take home with them. I’ll also bring several copies of the ginseng color page outline to send home with them. I’ll have the full package (outline and printed step-by-step guide) available to purchase and will leave plenty of sets of those behind to sell alongside my books and artwork at the shop. Seating for this event is limited, so be sure to call if you want to attend.

Transplanting Ginseng Seedlings

First year ginseng seedlings are fragile and difficult to ship bare-root. They transplant well into pots, though, so this is how we usually sell our plants.

This year we had bad luck with the seeds going dormant again, but we found that all the seeds we planted year before last, that had also gone dormant before we planted them, were sprouting this year. So at least I can get busy transplanting ginseng seedlings from seeds sown two years back.

American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.
American ginseng seedling soon after sprouting.

I just dig them up with a ball of their own native soil surrounding them and transplant to small pots with commercial soil-less potting mix. To ship them this way, because of regulations, I’d have to knock all the native soil off of them and I’m not sure how well they’d do without a little of the native soil.

[bctt tweet=”Just as mature ginseng has lookalike plants, there are lookalikes for ginseng seedlings.” username=”wildozark”]

I'm transplanting ginseng seedlings. Here's a pic of not ginseng and ginseng.
Not ginseng and ginseng

Ginseng Seedling Lookalikes

Usually it’s the same culprits, like Virginia Creeper and wild strawberry, but one lookalike in particular gets pretty tricky. Elm seedlings look more like ginseng seedlings to me than any other look-alike. Sometimes the elm seedlings only have three leaves showing, making it even more similar to the ginseng. In the photo above, the ginseng seedling is at the top, nearly out of the photo. The elm seedling is the one with four leaves in the center. There is a poison ivy plant at the top left, nearly out of the frame.

I’ll be trying to get at least 50 seedlings potted today.

Update 5/22

I did manage to get more than 50 seedlings transplanted.

Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.
Ginseng seedlings transplanted to pots. I keep them in the shade with a light cover of dead leaves.

One of the seedlings had grown up through a skeletal leaf. I liked the way that looked and left it there, potting it leaf skeleton and all:

Lacy skeleton leaf of ginseng seedling.
Lacy skeleton leaf on ginseng seedling.

While I was at it, I made a very short video clip (terrible quality, sorry) to show the ginseng seedlings versus the elm seedling lookalikes:

Most positive ID possible

If the seedling still has a seed attached to the stem and root, it’s the most positive way I know to be certain of the identity:

Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.
Ginseng seedling with the seed still attached.

 

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Ginseng in May – A Nature Sketch

I’m recording the process of my “Ginseng in May” sketch that I’m doing for the first Kingston, AR art show. And it’s the first art show I’ve ever entered. This sketch is the first I’ve ever done that took so long, lol, so this is a first on many levels.

Follow along at my Wild Ozark Nature Journal website: http://www.wildozarknaturejournal.com/ginseng-in-may/

Here’s how it started out:

color outline of my sketch of Ginseng in May
color outline

“Ginseng in May” – the finished sketch:

"Ginseng in May" by Madison Woods, colored pencil on paper
“Ginseng in May” by Madison Woods, colored pencil on paper

 

At the Wild Ozark Nature Journal Blog I go into explanations of how, why and what I did. Here’s a link to all of the ginseng-related posts at this blog. Under the “Ginseng” tab on the menu at the top of this page, you’ll find other pages on ginseng that don’t show up as posts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Ginseng Seedling When it Comes Up in the First Year from a Seed

Ginseng seedling day 2
A first year ginseng seedling the second day after unfurling.

[bctt tweet=”Here’s what a ginseng seedling looks like when it comes up for the first time from a seed.”]

Ginseng Seedling

In the first year, an American ginseng seedling has three leaves and looks a little bit like a wild strawberry plant.  It does not look much like an older ginseng plant from years two or older. The photo was taken on the second day after it emerged, but it looked pretty much the same right after it finished unfurling its leaves yesterday.

There’s More

If you look closely, you can see another one just beginning to come up in the lower left corner and another left of the stick in the lower right. And I just noticed another one near the middle at the top, but it’s not in focus. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Want to Compare?

If you want to see what the wild strawberry looks like, I have a page that compares them to each other.



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Ginseng Coffee and other “Wild Blends” from Wild Ozark

Ginseng Coffee from Wild Ozark

Unfortunately, we have found out that the state of Arkansas does not allow the roasting and selling of fresh roasted coffee without a permitted commercial kitchen. Therefore our delicious home-roasted Wild Ozark Blends and Coffees will only be available as gifts to friends and family from now on until, or unless, we invest in a permitted facility. If you know of information to the contrary about the selling or roasting of artisan coffees, please let me know.

Why home roasted and why ginseng coffee?

Because we  love it. We love the way it smells while we’re roasting it, love the way it smells when grinding, and absolutely love the flavor.  We love trying the various types of beans and whether it’s beans roasted to perfection alone or with our favorite additive to make ginseng coffee, it’s wonderful.

Ginseng coffee delivers a steady energy,  a better ability to focus and stay on task, and imparts a general feeling of well-being to my day*. Ginseng alone does this quite well, and coffee alone has numerous benefits too, but together they dance a very sexy tango. I love it.

Rob and I recently invested in a roaster to further pursue our obsession to have fresh, aromatic, ecstatically flavorful coffee. And now we can make enough to sell at the farmers market and through our online shop.

So we’ll have coffee in whatever iterations our imagination comes up with. Ginseng coffee using leaf or root, dandelion and chicory coffee, a sampling of different beans in plain (but never ordinary) coffee.

[bctt tweet=”Why oh why aren’t fresh home-roasted coffee beans allowed at markets in AR?”]

 

Cautions

*Ginseng and coffee together may have undesirable side-effects. Both are stimulating. Ginseng is an herb that has been used for many years for many things, but you should do your own research to determine if it is safe for you.

Most of the research has been performed using Panax ginseng, which is the Asian species. Our American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may have similar stimulating properties.

Here’s a good website about the properties of ginseng that also covers the contraindications (why some people should not use ginseng): http://en.mr-ginseng.com/ginseng-panax/

The amount of ginseng leaf or root in our coffee blend is not considered a “high dose”, and we do not use extract of ginseng.

Wild Roast coffee from Wild Ozark is delicious!
Wild Roast from Wild Ozark is delicious!

Fresh Roast

If we don’t sell the current week’s roast, regardless of which “Wild Roast” it is,  before the end of the third day, those beans go in our freezer for us to use in our personal coffee. The whole point of “fresh roast” is for it to be “fresh”, right?

So that’s why we only roast them the way we ourselves like them. Because we don’t want to have to use the oily black, burnt beans if no one else buys them.

However, if you really like yours very light or very dark and want to prepay for a special batch, just email me.

Our packaging

We vacuum seal our coffee in 1/2 pound portions. If you buy a whole pound and it’s all in one bag, the entire bag begins to oxidize the minute you open the container or bag. This way, only half of the pound is exposed to air at one time.

We use sous vide bags. This is huge! The bags are freezable, boilable, and microwaveable. They are BPA free and manufactured in the USA.

Because all we did was put coffee in them, they haven’t been exposed to high heat at all. If you want to reuse them to cook in, just make a clean cut to dump out the beans or grounds, clean and dry the bag before filling it with the food of your choice. Then use your vacuum sealer to close them up.



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

So How does Ginseng Taste?

photo of box of ginseng
This is the little box where we keep our dried ginseng root.

Ginseng Taste

So how does ginseng taste? The first flavor when you put a little piece of the root in your mouth is bitterness, but it’s not too intense of a bitterness. A bit of that bitterness lingers the whole time, too. Then there’s also an earthy sweetness, similar but not the same as carrot – a not so sweet carrot.

Do not eat an entire root in one day!

Eating too much ginseng is probably bad for you. My son ate a whole one when he first started digging. He didn’t sleep for two days and he said it felt like his heart was going to jump out of his chest. This is not a good thing, so don’t do it.

We usually chew a small piece, like  you see broken off in the photo below, all day. Just tuck it on the side of your jaw, don’t chew it like gum. Squeeze it every once in a while with your tongue against the roof of your mouth, or gently between your teeth, and put it back on the side.

When you want to eat or get tired of keeping it in there, put it on a plate or somewhere that you can go back to it later. As long as the bitter flavor remains, it still contains ginseng goodness.

Some people use the root in broths. I’ve ground some and used it in my coffee. I really like it that way.

a piece of dried ginseng root
The dried ginseng root, ready to chew.

I have a monthly inventory report for those who are interested in buying exceptional wild ginseng roots and leaves for personal consumption (ships to US addresses only).

Keeo up with the roots report

 

 

 

 

Ginseng

Most of the searches that bring people to this site are about how to find ginseng. Not so many seem to wonder about how to use the ginseng itself. I think most are only interested in exploiting the root for profit. We don’t dig our roots here to sell because we don’t have enough of it yet. When the population reaches a sustainable level (at least 100 plants of mixed ages per colony) we’ll harvest roots, but that’s going to be years down the road from now. Right now the focus is on habitat restoration.

In our Wild Ozark™ Nursery, though, we do plant extra seeds so I can sell rootlets and potted ginseng plants to others who want to grow it. It makes a pretty potted plant or specimen feature in shade gardens. We also offer companions to make the habitat complete.

The Ozark’s own best-selling author, photographer, consultant, and herbalist Steven Foster posted at his herbal blog about the issues he sees with the television show “Appalachian Outlaws”. My hope is that some of the people who come here searching for information because they’ve watched that show will become interested in the plant and shift their focus from the potential money in digging to a concern and desire to help it survive. I wrote a short book called “Sustainable Ginseng” with information on how land-owners can grow it in a way that’s indistinguishable from true wild. Grown this way it can be used for personal remedies as I describe below, or sold just like wild – all without adding extra stress to the survival of the plants still holding their own in our hills.


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For the most part, I just study the ginseng and grow it. I get a lot of enjoyment from finding new plants, growing new colonies, and just observing grandmother plants with her babies throughout the growing season. But every so often we do dig a few for our own personal use and I thought I’d talk a little today about how I use it. Dr. Laurell Matthews wrote about the virtues of ginseng root on her Natural Health blog the other day. The last time we dug any of our own was a few years ago. I keep the roots in a paper bag along with the other herbs I’ve harvested for household use.

herbs in paper bagsWhen I take out a ginseng root I put it in the little ox-bone box pictured at the top of this post and keep it in the kitchen. My husband got that little box for me when he was in Iraq or Afghanistan and I think it makes a fitting resting place for a single root of a plant I hold in high regard. That same root has been in the box for several months because I don’t use it every day. If I’m working on a project that requires more concentration and focus than I’m ordinarily prone to, I’ll keep a little piece of the root in my mouth all day. I take it out and set it on the side of my plate if I eat or put it down somewhere if I’m having a cup of coffee, but I keep the same piece in use all day. It’s sort of like keeping the same piece of chewing gum, I guess, but I don’t actually “chew” the root. Every once in a while I’ll bite down on it to squeeze the juice out of it. Yes, I know that sounds pretty gross, given that the juice is made from my saliva, ha. But the saliva is also extracting the goodness of ginseng while it sits on standby in my mouth.

If I think I have a cold or other illness coming on, I’ll use it the same way. Ginseng is an adaptogen and will try to help the body overcome stresses of any sort. This is also what I’ll do with it if we’re doing some sort of work that is physical and I want to maintain stamina throughout the day (like when we’re working on a fence project).

If you’re interested in growing your own virtually-wild ginseng and need some help figuring out where to plant, take a look at our books. By learning the ginseng companion plants, it’ll help you find the best places to plant.

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

What’s the Big Deal About Ginseng?

This is the topic of my 10-minute speech for the Meet the Author’s Event on Saturday, Feb. 6,  at the Kimberling City Library. My talk, “What’s the Big Deal about Ginseng” is at 11:10 but there will be lots of other authors there giving their 10 minutes of engaging content, too. The allotted time may not be enough to cover all of the details in the article below, but I’ll be there most of the day to answer questions if you have any.

Here’s a PDF with the schedule. I hope you’ll come out to meet and greet your favorite local authors. I’ll have a bit of table space and all of my books, so if you want one autographed, it’s a perfect opportunity.

What is Ginseng?

Wondering what's the big deal about ginseng?
A ginseng plant with ripe berries.

Ginseng is a small understory woodland perennial plant that can live a long time. The oldest one I’ve seen from the Ozarks was about 45 years, but it can live to be 100 or more. It’s not a very large plant and the root, the part most often bought and sold, isn’t very large either.

The leaves and ripe berries have a market too, but those parts are not as much in demand as the roots.

Ginseng grows in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Siberia as well. Our north American species is called Panax quinquefolius. The other ginseng varieties in other countries have other species names, but they all belong to the genus Panax.

Here’s a post with photos if you’d like to see what ginseng looks like at various stages of growth.

 

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Meet our new team mates – Bat Cave Botanicals

Wild Ozark is pleased to announce that we’ll be working with Bat Cave Botanicals to bring wild Appalachian ginseng roots and leaf products to our online shop.


Martin & Sara of Bat Cave BotanicalsAbout Bat Cave Botanicals

My partner & I are fortunate to live in a region of the world where ginseng grows wild. The mountains of Western North Carolina have a long standing heritage that includes hunting for ginseng & other herbs for folk medicine as well as international market value. To protect the future of this incredible plant from over-harvest, cultivation & good stewardship practices are essential in order to satisfy demand and thus relieve the pressure being placed on the wild plant by high commercial value.

We have been growing ginseng and protecting a wild population for over 10 years. This is our second season of selling ginseng online and we specialize in ethically harvested, premium wild ginseng roots. ‘Ethical harvest’ means digging roots only in the proper season, selectively harvesting less than one third any population, and zealously planting the red berries which contain the ginseng seeds.

We became involved in the ginseng business because of our mutual love of nature, cultural history, and an interest in finding a new way to profitably market ginseng as a commodity while at the same time showing respect & providing guardianship for this rare & fascinating plant.

We are located in Bat Cave, North Carolina; surrounded by the beautiful southern Appalachian mountains. We specialize in superior quality Wild American ginseng roots & products, as well as many other native & useful plants.

Bat Cave Botanicals is a registered North Carolina Ginseng Dealer. We comply with all Federal & North Carolina regulations concerning the harvest, inspection, certification & sale of Wild American Ginseng. We abide by an ethical code regarding the stewardship & harvest of Ginseng and other at-risk plants.

Martin & Sara
Bat Cave Botanicals

Martin and Sara’s premium roots are available for purchase at Wild Ozark’s online shop. Each month I send out an inventory update report just for our ginseng products. Sign up for that list if you want to stay informed. Right now only the roots from Bat Cave Botanicals are listed. Soon I’ll be adding Ozark roots from our new Ozarks team mates who will be introduced in the near future, and some of my own ginseng-related products.

Keeo up with the roots report


 

 

 

 

 



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.


Ways You Can Support Wild Ozark

  • Spread the Word

    Share this post or tell a friend about my website. "From little acorns do mighty oaks grow." A little thing like sharing could start momentum! This is a free and tremendously powerful way to help.

  • Buy a Book

    See all of my books here:
    Nonfiction: Madison Woods Amazon Author's Page.
    Fiction: Ima Erthwitch Amazon Author's Page.

  • Shop at our Nature Boutique

    Unique gifts, books, and information for the nature lovers in your life. Adding more items as time allows: Wild Ozark Nature Boutique.

  • Become a Patron

    A small monthly stipend of even $1 from enough supporters will help me continue the educational outreach and construction of habitat gardens. More information here: https://www.patreon.com/wildozark

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods