lar: I agree with BCastle on the first as the unique black stems and all the branches coming off of it where most other ferns have the branches come from a central location at ground level. As for the others, in the years I have hunted seng none of them were what I would find in the woods and think \"there'll be some seng nearby now\". However that is for sure the case with the Maidenhair, as well as goldenseal, cohosh, bloodroot, ginger (seng usually is uphill from ginger as the ginger usually likes it a bit damper and darker), and my ol' reliable favorite is the rattlesnake fern (what we call seng pointer). I can usually find seng within five minutes of seeing the seng pointer, unless someone has raped the area of seng.
Hugh: Is cranesbill a companion of seng? I thought that one looked like a young elderberry bush. I saw one in my woods yesterday at the same level of growth. I know it grows anywhere and not a good guide.
You may be right about #2 being Elderberry.. Cranesbill does grow pretty much as a companion plant to ginseng here in East Tn. but you'll see it growing in places that you might not see ginseng. It is a collectible root for medicinal uses. Elderberry is not what I would consider a companion plant to ginseng. It can survive in wetter and heavier growth areas than ginseng would normally, but I do see it in the mountains quite a bit growing along roads. It seems to thrive in old fence rows that are growing up. It needs more sun than ginseng will tolerate. Many of these woodland plants still fool me so use wiki or get on Facebook to see more about the different plants.
Right there underneath and all around that MHF would be a good place to put a few ginseng seed down.
They say you can use the leaves off MHF to make a tea that is supposed to help with coughs and colds. Page 418 in Scotts book.
I tried some in a tea this winter... just to see what it taste like and it was not really good. You could drink it but not for pleasure... but I guess if you had a cough or cold it might be worth it to see if it helped.