American Ginsing

9 Aug

  This plant is endangered and quite rare now – I don’t think we’ll find it on the property – but we can keep looking!

Features: American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a long-lived, slow-growing perennial herb found in rich, moist, mature deciduous forest. Its elongated root has a high market value and is used to make a medicinal tonic. In Asia, the root of the closely related Oriental Ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.

Status: Endangered Provincially and Nationally

Range: The range of American Ginseng extends from southwestern Quebec and eastern and central Ontario, south through the northeastern and midwestern United States to Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia. In Ontario, Ginseng has been recorded at 65 sites, but recent surveys suggest that one-quarter of these sites may have disappeared.

Threats: Populations of American Ginseng have decreased significantly in Ontario over the past 150 years because of harvesting, timber extraction, and the clearing of land for agriculture and development. These threats continue at present, and it has been estimated that at least half of the populations are declining. Other potential concerns include hybridization with non-native Oriental Ginseng, which is sometimes planted in woodlands for commercial harvest, and the transmission of disease from this introduced species to American Ginseng.

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