I never realized how widely sought out and coveted the ginseng plant was till I read about it in the good ole' FoxFire books - and how the men of the Appalachian Mountains made a living off of ginseng hunting throughout the woods. They sold it for huge amounts of $$$, cause the wild stuff was apparently better then the kind which was cultivated - it became such a big deal they practically wiped the plant out of it's native exsistence! People who hunted 'sang before it went to seed were looked down upon, a good fella' waited till the Fall when it dropped it's seeds so that if the root was dug up, at least more plants could grow in that spot.
"Wild ginseng is ginseng that has not been planted and cultivated domestically, rather it is that which grows naturally and is harvested from wherever it is found to be growing. Wild ginseng is relatively rare and even increasingly endangered, due in large part to high demand for the product in recent years, which has led to the wild plants being sought out and harvested faster than new ones can grow (it requires years for a ginseng root to reach maturity).
There are woods grown American ginseng programs in Maine, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. and United Plant Savers has been encouraging the woods planting of ginseng both to restore natural habitats and to remove pressure from any remaining wild ginseng, and they offer both advice and sources of rootlets."
The root is what has the strong medical qualities, most widely used for diabetes and erectal dysfunction ---> but in the old days people used it for less complicated problems like upset stomach, a burst of energy & hawt sex. ;)
The pictures here are of some ginseng plants I found near the Luck Cabin where I live - you can see in the pic below the tiny dots coming from the center of the stem that will turn into the red berries, that then become seeds. Me and Bort found this ginseng patch by accident when he stepped on one of the plants and I instantly thought ''''oh no, that was ginseng'''' ---> it took us a few minutes to give it a positive ID because many tree saplings have the exact same leaf pattern as ginseng and were surrounding the 'sang by the dozens...
The real dividing factor is the trees have a woody stem and the ginseng has a stem more similar to bloodroot - and the easiest way to tell for sure, are the berries that grow out the center.
So cool!!!! I feel rich just knowing the secret spot where it grows!