American ginseng has captivated the imagination of people for centuries, inextricably intertwined with humanity for as long as our history can recall. Today, it is under threat from several factors and relies on mindful conservation to ensure its long-term survival. For those who strive to keep this plant in our history for years to come, it’s important to know where is ginseng most commonly found. Providing cultivated plants with a natural environment will help them thrive for generations.
Where is Ginseng Most Commonly Found?
American ginseng is most commonly found along the Ozark and Appalachian Mountain ranges from central United States, into Quebec province in Canada. This herbaceous plant resides in hardwood deciduous forests and requires a rich mesic landscape that can support strong biodiversity. Unfortunately, these areas are declining under the pressures of human development and a changing climate. This, however, does not stop ongoing conservation efforts that restrict or ban the wild harvest of these plants.
What State Has the Best Ginseng?
While the plant grows primarily in the Ozarks and Appalachian region of the United States, Wisconsin is now known as the state with the best ginseng in the world. The reason for this is an expansive operation that grows their plants en masse, along with an entity known as the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin.
The top producers of wild harvested or wild-simulated cultivated American ginseng, on the other hand, are a collective five states: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Because there is not much variation in ginseng root quality other than age, wild-simulated can match many of the qualifications of wild-grown ginseng on the market.
Why Do People Dig Ginseng?
For many people starting in the 17th century, digging American ginseng was a way of life that put food on the table throughout the winter. For colonial settlers, it was also a way to pay off debts and take advantage of a budding trade agreement.
Stories of the root’s value on the market have expanded, and people still search for the plant despite its dwindling population. Whether they are looking to make a quick dollar or searching for the romance of an age past, it’s no longer sustainable to wild harvest ginseng.
Want to Learn More About Ginseng?
Enjoy more in-depth information about how to identify, grow, and harvest your own American ginseng crop in HerbSpeak's new book: How to Grow Ginseng.
In this book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about growing ginseng – specifically American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius – and how to care for this wonderful plant from seed to harvest.
Beyond that, you’ll learn why such a small root has earned such an honorable reputation, and what you can do to help keep this plant in our lives no matter what your motivation for growing ginseng is.
Your journey into the world of ginseng starts here.