Monday, January 5, 2015



Panax quinquefolius ( American Ginseng )
A perennial, reaching up to 2 feet in height, that is native to rich deciduous ( esp. sugar maple ) forests in eastern North America ( from eastern South Dakota to central Minnesota to northern Michigan to Lions Head, Ontario to Midland, Ontario to Petawawa, Ontario to southern Quebec & Maine; south to eastern Oklahoma to central Alabama to northern Georgia to central North Carolina ). It was once common but is now endangered due to destruction of old growth forests and medicinal poaching. It is extinct over much of its former range in Ontario; most remaining populations are east of Lake Ontario. Most remaining populations in Quebec are either west or south of Montreal, it once occurred as far north as Quebec City. It has become extinct at Point Pelee and Pelee Island during the early 1900s though was considered abundant both there and on the Ohio shore during the 1800s.
The leaves are composed of 5 leaflets. The toothed, ovate or obovate leaflets are up to 6.3 inches in length.
The flowers are greenish-white. They are followed by bright red berries up to 0.4 inches wide.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 ( possibly 4 for most northerly seed source and possibly even 3 for a population near Algonquin NP, Ontario ) in partial to full shade on moist, well drained soil.

* USDA plants database

Panax trifolius ( Dwarf Ginseng )
A perennial, reaching up to 1 foot in height, that is native to bottomlands rich deciduous or hemlock woods in eastern North America ( from central Minnesota to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Sault Ste Marie to Ottawa, Ontario to southern Quebec to Nova Scotia; south to central Indiana to Virginia...south to Tennessee & North Carolina in mountains ). It was abundant around both Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan during the 1800s. It also occurred sporadically on the Ohio shore ( incl 2 sites in Florence Twp, Erie Co. ) during that time.
The leaves are composed of 3 to 5 finely-toothed, narrowly-oblong leaflets, up to 3.2 inches in length.
The white or pinkish flowers are borne mid to late spring.
They are followed by yellow berries up to 0.2 inches wide.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil.

* photos taken on March 28 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

1 comment:

  1. What is that second photo from the top of your page? Right below the dwarf ginseng description? That is NOT ginseng nor dwarf ginseng. I'm going to guess wild sarsparilla.