Also, I have had several local old men already ask me if I knew where some was (does this qualify me even more for the neighborhood witch?)
The ginseng leaves are no longer dark green at this time of year, but are turning yellow-ish now and the stems are weaker. The berries are ready when they are loose and easily fall off if you lightly shake the plant - those berries are not for eating, but for planting. They contain the seeds to grow more ginseng plants.
I plan on spreading these seeds around to help grow more of this rare and over-hunted native plant. Then maybe one day I can dig up a root and not feel bad about taking what little is left in the forest.
the following pictures below are native plants that also contain red berries that could be mistaken for the ginseng plant, when hunting for it in the fall. It is REALLY important not to get edible plants in the woods confused, to avoid getting sick/poisoning/ or death. Be certain you know what you are looking for by having a clear picture of leaf shapes, roots, berries, ect...!