Finding And Harvesting The American Ginseng Plant

American ginseng, also known as an Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is often harvested as well as exported to Asia. Here the best quality ginseng roots can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound. Without any doubt, we can say that harvesting the American ginseng plant is the most labor-intensive as well as time-consuming part of the ginseng enterprise. But at the same time, it is also financially rewarding and provides the most fun. In order to ensure enough time to get your crop out of the ground, you need to begin harvesting earlier in the year. According to the experts, before harvesting the American ginseng, it is always a good idea to check state and federal laws that are affecting ginseng harvests. Moreover, research your marketing options if you are planning to sell your harvested ginseng.

Finding American Ginseng Plant

There is only one compound leaf with three leaflets that the first-year ginseng seedlings produce. This leaf should always be left to grow. Besides the leaf, the root of American ginseng is only about 1 inch long and 1/4 inches wide. American ginseng root reaches maturity through its first five years. Hence, the plants that are younger than five years old are not marketable. Moreover, such plants should not be harvested.

The ginseng plant usually drops its leaves late in the fall. During the spring season, a small rhizome or “neck” develops at the top of its root. There is also a regeneration bud at the apex of the rhizome from where the new leaves emerge.

Harvesting American Ginseng Seed

If we talk about wild ginseng plants, they are generally started for harvesting from seed that is grown on a five year or older plant. On the other hand, younger ginseng plants do not create so many viable seeds. They should also be protected and passed over for harvest. Wild “sang” hunters usually plant the mature, crimson seeds that they find back in the general area after harvesting a wild ginseng plant.

There are some stubborn ginseng seeds that need a dormant period of between 18 and 21 months to germinate. Moreover, these seeds experience the warm and cold sequence of the seasons because they have to “age” for at least one year in damp soil. For properly harvesting American ginseng seed, you need to select all the mature seeds and plant them at a productive location, for example, near the seed-bearing plant that has been removed. This location will make a great seed bed.

Nowadays, there are various tools that can be used for harvesting the American ginseng roots. These include hand trowels, picks, mattocks as well as soil knives. Many people use their own digging tools but the only limitation to personal preference is that the harvesting tool must allow the roots to be removed from the soil intact.


Finding and harvesting the American ginseng plant can be an enjoyable and financially rewarding experience. Both these steps can help to ensure a considerable return on the investment of time and money that is required to produce this unique and valuable crop.