Panax quinquefolius Linnaeus. Phen: May-Jun; Aug-Oct. Hab: Cove forests, mesic hardwood forests, generally in nutrient-rich forests though tending to avoid the richest coves. Dist: ME and QC west to MN and SD, south to e. VA, e. NC, nc. SC, sw. GA, s. AL, s. MS, e. LA, and OK.
Origin/Endemic status: Native
Other Comments: P. quinquefolius is gathered in quantity throughout its range for the herbal trade; most of the North American harvest is shipped to China, where it is prized for medicinal uses. Dried roots command prices in excess of $1000 per kilogram; in our area, "sang" is a multimillion dollar industry. Formerly abundant and occurring in large populations, P. quinquefolius has been reduced in most of its range to small populations of scattered individuals, a classic example of a "predator-prey" relationship. Collection and trade in ginseng is monitored and regulated in most states. In NC, it is illegal for ginseng dealers to buy ginseng from collectors before Sep; this allows the plants to mature fruits prior to collection. Schlessman (1985) discusses the floral biology of P. quinquefolius.
Synonymy: = Ar, F, Il, K1, K3, K4, Mi, Mo2, Ok, Pa, Tn, Va, W, WV, Frodin & Govaerts (2003), Haines (2020a), Smith (1944); = Panax quinquefolium L. – C, G, GrPl, RAB, S, orthographic variant