The wild "GINSENG" of West Virginia.....do you know what it it????
The History, the Mystery of Ginseng
By Emily Grafton
Before you run out and start diging, check this out...........
A native plant of West Virginia, Ginseng grows in all 55 counties of the State but is prevalent in cool, moist forests. This perennial herb is highly prized for its large, fleshy roots that grow from two to six inches in length and a ? to a ? inch in thickness. Ginseng is slow growing with seeds taking two years to germinate. The age of a Ginseng plant generally can be determined for the first three to five years by the number of its leaves, or prongs. Ginseng roots must be dug only when the plant has three or more prongs (with no fewer than 15 leaflets) indicating the plant is probably at least five years old and capable of producing fertile berries. The berries of the plant must be red in color indicating that they are mature. Younger plants have smaller roots and little or no financial value.
Collection of Ginseng in West Virginia is regulated by State law. Ginseng roots are to be dug only between September 1 and November 30 each year. Ginseng diggers, often called "sangers," are required to sow the seeds from harvested plants at the site of the digging, thereby perpetuating the species in its native habitat. During the digging season landowners may dig Ginseng on their own land or give written permission to others to dig on their land. Digging without written permission on posted or enclosed land is a criminal act and subject to fines and imprisonment. Ginseng buyers must obtain a permit from the WV Division of Forestry. Possession of uncertified Ginseng between April 1 and August 31 is illegal and substantial penalties are imposed on violators.
Ginseng has been harvested as a cash crop in West Virginia for at least 200 years. In 2002, more than 6,400 pounds of Ginseng, worth more than $2 million, were dug in West Virginia. Ginseng Harvest records from 1978 to 1999 for wild and cultivated plants are available by clicking Wild Ginseng Harvest History and Cultivated Ginseng Harvest History.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in North America and Asia. Allegedly teas, soups and medicines made from Ginseng roots cure sickness, increase vitality, relieve mental and physical fatigue and prolong life. In China the roots themselves are often chewed.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HARVESTING AND SELLING GINSENG, CALL THE WEST VIRGINIA DIVISION OF FORESTRY AT (304) 558-2788.
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