First year ginseng seedlings are available as potted plants in spring through summer, and ship out as bare-root beginning in October.
About American Ginseng
Panax quinquefolius, or American ginseng, is a medicinal herb native to eastern United States. It has a very narrow range of habitat requirements. Deep shade, deciduous tree cover, and cool moist soil with lots of humus marks an ideal location. The photo below shows what a mature plant with fruit looks like.
Potted plants are available to local customers from May through October. I can ship bare-root first year ginseng seedlings in fall, beginning in October until the end of November. First year roots are small, usually around an inch long and second year aren’t much larger.
The younger your plants are when transplanted, the more likely your mature root will have the “wild” look. Wild roots are thinner with more wrinkles than cultivated. The roots here in the Ozarks grow in ground with lots of rocks and tree roots, so the ginseng roots can be less uniform in shape and size because of that.
Here at Wild Ozark, we don’t water, fertilize, spray pesticides, fungicides, or weed or cultivate around our plants. They grow exactly in the same conditions as wild. All we did was drop the seed or plant the rootlet. Sometimes this means the plant won’t survive if conditions at any given time become harsh due to drought or excessive rain.
How do first year ginseng seedlings look?
They look a lot like wild strawberry plants, with only one prong and only three leaves:
The seedling roots you get in an order of bare-root plants will be considered two-year old plants the following spring after planting. The same goes for potted plants, too, of course.
When they come up they’ll either have one prong with four or five leaves, or two prongs each with four or five leaves. They’ll look like or similar to the ones below:
Before I ship the seedlings, the yellowing tops will be trimmed off and only the roots will be packed. Here’s how the roots look when packaged to ship:
Where does it grow?
It grows in eastern United States, mostly in hilly or mountainous areas, in mixed hardwood forest where the soil is loamy and the shade is dense. North facing slopes usually have the best conditions, but I’ve found it growing wild on all slopes. Southern facing is the most unusual, but it can happen in certain circumstances.
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. Look for these habitat companions to indicate great habitat for your first year ginseng seedlings:
- christmas fern
- maidenhair fern
- blue cohosh
- black cohosh
- pawpaw trees
There’s a lot of fungal mycelia present in the areas where the ginseng grows. In some areas there is white mycelia, but in the spot where I went today only the orange was there. Tilling the soil destroys these microorganisms.
The air is cooler in the moist woods where this plant grows, because of the shade and ground moisture. It also likes a nice thick layer of leaf cover on the ground – as long as the leaves are not hickory, oak, or conifers alone.
You can read more about ginseng at my blog: https://www.wildozark.com/american-ginseng/.I ♥ Wild Ozark's blog! #Nature www.wildozark.com Click To Tweet
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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