Hydrastis canadensis, or goldenseal, is a medicinal herb native to eastern United States. It is a ginseng companion plant, meaning it is often found growing alongside ginseng and the other companions in the same habitat. The photo below shows what a mature plant with fruit looks like.
I can ship rootlets in fall, beginning in October until the end of November. The roots here in the Ozarks can be on the small side, even when fairly old.
You can tell how old goldenseal is in the same way the age of ginseng is told – by counting the root scars. Each scar is another year.
The rootlets you’ll get in an order will be mixed ages, but most of them should be old enough to flower and fruit the following year after planting.
Before I ship the plants (if bare-root, for fall shipments) the yellowing tops will be trimmed off and only the roots will be packed. Here’s how about 10 plants and the roots look when harvested in autumn for herbal medicinal use or to ship:
In spring once the tops start growing I ship the plants in soil-less potting medium, in pots.
Where does it grow?
Although still plentiful in the Ozarks, it is sometimes rare in other places. Goldenseal is a CITES listed plant, meaning that the root is under strict export regulation to keep it from becoming more endangered. This plant is easy to cultivate and tolerates more sunlight than American ginseng, but still has fairly narrow habitat requirements. It grows in eastern United States in mixed hardwood forest where the soil is loamy and the shade is dense.
What kind of environment?
Ours grows under a hickory, oak, beech, maple, redbud mix. It doesn’t grow where only the oak and hickory grow. The leaf mat under only those trees is too dense for the buds to push through in spring. Goldenseal will almost always grow just fine in the same places ginseng grows, but can often grow in areas ginseng can’t grow.
There’s also a lot of fungal mycelia present in the areas where the goldenseal grows. In some areas there is white mycelia, but in the spot where I went today only the orange was there.
The air is cooler in the moist woods where this plant grows, because of the shade and ground moisture. It also likes the same sort of leaf cover on the ground that ginseng does, but it can grow in more sunlight than tolerated by ginseng. Goldenseal enjoys the company of the other ginseng companion plants, such as bloodroot, wild ginger, black and blue cohosh, etc.
You can read more about goldenseal and go on a virtual dig with me at this blog post: https://www.wildozark.com/digging-goldenseal/.
Predator 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.
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.