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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 96: II International Symposium on Spices and medicinal Plants

AMERICAN GINSENG /PANAX QUINQUEFOLIUM L./

Author:   C.R. Roberts
Abstract:
American ginseng /Panax quinquefolium L./ is a native plant species in the state of Kentucky and several surrounding states. Ginseng has been collected and exported from the woods of the eastern United States and Canada for over two hundred years and prior to that was dug and used by many Indian tribes in America for many medicinal purposes /10/.

Kentucky is one of the principal ginseng producing states in the United States. From a study made of ginseng buyers in 1977 /6/ it was found that the sale of ginseng from Kentucky was bringing in over five million dollars annually. Patty /5/ reported that total ginseng exports from the United States in 1978 totaled 24.6 million dollars.

Ginseng being dug and marketed from Kentucky is predominately ginseng growing in the wild on rather steep mountainous slopes commonly referred to as the appalachian area, however, there is a greatly increased interest in cultivating ginseng as a crop and we presently have over 50 ginseng producers of cultivated ginseng on our mailing list in Kentucky.

There is a great deal of concern among diggers, ginseng producers, buyers, and dealers of ginseng in America since the Endangered Species Scientific Authority /ESSA/ in the United States has established regulations pertaining to the digging and exporting of wild American ginseng. This is in accordance with an international treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which is currently suscribed to by 51 nations /4/. Regulations for implementation of the Convention in the United States was published in the February 22, 1977 Federal Register /42FR10461/.

The ESSA will make export findings for the 1979 harvest of American wild ginseng on a state by state basis. Proposals to export cultivated ginseng do not require finding by the ESSA, but such exports still require export certificates issued by the permit office. Each state that wishes to export wild American ginseng must show evidence that continued harvesting of the crop is not detrimental to survival of the species.

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