Ginseng season has always been popular, but it has gained more recognition in the last few years thanks to TV.
If you are new to hunting wild roots, there is more to it than going out with a shovel, digging some roots and making a lot of money. I don’t care what you see on TV.
In the video below, I demonstrate the proper way to prepare roots to get the most money out of your hard work.
Be sure to follow all the laws, buy your license, and don’t dig little plants. Let them grow.
American wild ginseng is the most sought-after ginseng to buyers, and many buyers are will to pay a lot of money for these roots. American wild ginseng grows naturally in the dense native forests of the central, eastern, and northern United States.
The demand in Hong Kong and the rest of the Asian market is believed to be two to three times greater than the supply of American wild roots, yet the amount exported has been decreasing. As demand continues to outstrip supply, market mechanisms dictate that wild ginseng will only become more valuable.
To protect the resource, the federal government classified wild ginseng as an endangered species in 1987. Rules and regulations have been issued to monitor and in some ways restrict the buying and selling of roots, including:
• Plants must be at least five years old before they may be harvested.
• Plants with two or fewer leaves cannot be harvested.
• Some states forbid the harvesting of plants with green, unripe seeds.
• Most states require that when ginseng is dug out, new seeds be planted below one inch of topsoil and covered with leaves.
• A ginseng license is required to harvest on public or private property.
• Firsthand, cross-state dealers must get permission from the state wildlife commission, obtain license and certification before conducting any business.
Much of the root currently being certified as “wild” in fact comes from woods-grown or woods-simulated cultivated plants. The certification of wild roots is largely based on self-reporting and the examination of limited samples by officials who may lack the training needed to distinguish wild-simulated from true wild root, especially when the two are mixed together.
No one really knows how much native, wild ginseng remains, and because of this inaccuracy in counting how much is being harvested, it is difficult to form and enforce policies that effectively protect the resource while also allowing the harvest to continue, as has been admitted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service:
“… The State conservation status ranking should reflect current conditions and understanding of that particular species. However, the amounts of wild-harvested ginseng reported annually by the state to DMA are not consistent with the numbers of plants and population sizes used for conservation rankings … this is attributable to at least two factors. First, data are largely lacking on the occurrences of ginseng on private land. Second, much of what is exported as wild ginseng may in fact be some form of human-planted or (human)-grown ginseng, such as wild-simulated …”