Panax quinquefolius

Panax quinquefolius

American ginseng

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Panax quinquefolius

American ginseng
  • Plant type and subtype:
    • Perennials
    • Hardiness Zone: 
    • 4,
    • 5,
    • 6,
    • 7,
    • 8
    • Light Requirements: 
    • shade,
    • part-shade
  • Height: 9"-18"
    • Leaf Color: 
    • green
    • Bloom Color: 
    • white
    • Bloom Time: 
    • Jun,
    • Jul
    • Water Use: 
    • medium
    • Soil Moisture: 
    • moist
    • Soil Description: 
    • acid,
    • rich
    • Additional Tags: 
    • berries,
    • fall interest,
    • fragrant plant,
    • fragrant root,
    • medicinal,
    • shade garden plant,
    • showy fruit,
    • woodland garden plant,
    • rare
  • Description: 

    American ginseng is an erect growing plant. Its compound leaves are made up of 5 serrated, oblong leaflets (quinquefolius means 5 leaves). Each plant produces a single, small, greenish to yellowish flower cluster atop an erect stem, reaching up to 18" tall. The blooms, though somewhat insignificant, exude a fragrance reminiscent to that of lily of the valley. Flowers give way to clusters of bright red berries in fall. Panax quinquefolius has been widely collected for its aromatic and medicinal roots.

  • Cultivation: 

    Though not commonly grown due to its limited visual interest, American ginseng can certainly be considered a conversation piece. It is well suited for the moist, organically rich environment of a woodland garden. It should not be allowed to dry out in summer, yet an overly wet environment can lead to root rot. This is a low maintenance plant that blooms in late spring or early summer: June, July. Zones 4-8

  • Propagation: 

    Best propagated by root division of mature plants. Collect roots in late summer after the plant begins to die back. Collected roots should not be stored, but rather planted immediately in well prepared soil, about 1" below the surface. May also be propagated from seed, though seedlings will be slow to mature.

  • Additional Notes: 

    Panax is derived from the Greek word for panacea or cure-all. Ginseng is derived from Chinese words meaning man-like, which describes the appearance of the roots. Ginseng has a long history in herbal medicine, with a wide range of uses, from aphrodisiac to heart stimulant. This has led to its over collection and increased rarity in the wild. It is considered endangered in all parts of its native range and should NOT be collected in the wild.

Map of Native Range

  • Range by State: USDA data
  • Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

*The map of native range is based on the latest available USDA data.

There may be gaps in the county level distribution.

Native Range: 

AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom: Plantae Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae  
Order: Apiales  
Family: Araliaceae Ginseng family
Genus: Panax ginseng
Species: Panax quinquefolius American ginseng
     
Synonyms:

Panax quinquefolium

wild ginseng, ginseng

USDA Endangered Status

N/A

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