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Wild Ginseng Panax quinquefolius


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Wild Ginseng, fruit
credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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Alternate name: American Ginseng

Family: Araliaceae, Ginseng view all from this family

Description Native perennial forb. Habit: erect, single stem with single whorl of 3 leaves, 8-24" height. Leaf: palmate, with five oblong to obovate toothed leaflets; yellow fall color. Flower: a single, fragrant, white or green round terminal umbel; blooms in summer. Fruit: red berries. Root: long, branching taproot.

Habitat Shaded woodlands and forest.

Range Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America, ranging from Quebec to Georgia, west to Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Ontario.

Discussion Plants are long-lived, up to 50 years. Certain cultures, including Chinese, attribute medicinal properties to the roots. As a result, this plant has been overcollected and is now rare in the wild. Many common names, including: American ginseng, dwarf groundnut, five fingers, five-leafed ginseng, jinshard, man's health, man root, redberry, sang, tartar root, wonder-of-the-world.