General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 9-12 inches
Plant Spread: 12-18 inches
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Other: Yellow-green to greenish-white
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds
Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Other info: In natural conditions, the seed may take two or three years to germinate and the plant three to four years to produce seed. The root takes at least three to four years before it is ready to harvest.
Miscellaneous: Endangered

Common names
  • Wild Ginseng
  • American Ginseng
  • Ginseng
  • Five-Finger

Photo Gallery
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date: 2020-11-16
Wild Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) roots for planting.
Location: southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-04-27
close-up of flowers and foliage
Location: indoors Toronto, Ontario
Date: 2022-02-15
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Location: southeast Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-04-27
a nice mass in a mature forest

credit: Dr ginseng
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2015-07-25
Three leaves - typical of a third year plant
Location: Tennessee
Stephen J. Baskauf (
Location: Tennessee
Stephen J. Baskauf (

Date: 2008-05-10
Stephen J. Baskauf (

Date: 2008-05-10
Stephen J. Baskauf (

Date: 2011-07-05
  • Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 10, 2015 4:10 PM concerning plant:
    Some history from "How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs. William Starr Dana:

    "This plant is well known by name, but is yearly becoming more scarce. The aromatic root is so greatly valued in China for its supposed power of combating fatigue and old age that it can only be gathered by the order of the emperor. The forked specimens are believed to be the most powerful, and their fancied likeness to the human form has obtained for the plant the Chinese title of Jin-chen (from which ginseng is a corruption), and the Indian one of Garan-toguen, both which, strangely enough, are said to signify, "like a man". The Canadian Jesuits first began to ship the roots of the American species to China, where they sold at about five dollars a pound. At present they are said to command about one-fifth of that price in the home market."

    My grandfather and his brothers dug ginseng in Lincoln County, West Virginia to make extra money. My grandfather was born in 1923, a year after Mrs. Dana published the above quoted book. As she stated, it was already becoming scarce.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 6, 2021 2:08 PM concerning plant:
    It makes a pretty, low groundcover. I've only seen it once in southeast Pennsylvania in a state park in a beautiful climax woods of oak-hickory-yellow birch-hemlock in rich, acid soil. I won't say exactly where because some people would collect it for its roots. It should be propagated artificially so as to not hurt wild populations. and it would make a nice little ornamental perennial.

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