I have been hunting seng for years now and though i've found several tall plants with good root i never found one that was really old........ todat i did just that funny thing the plant was only a three prong and about 12 inches tall to top it off it was the only one i picked today it was the only one with red berries there were probably 10 or so more in the same location but none with ripe berries oh well i'm happy cause this root i picked was by my count close to 50yrs give or take a year or two the groth stem is a full six inches long bout had a heart attack right there. i don't know how to post pics or it would be included i need some help in that area
I found one like that about three years ago. I has on my way to a good spot I found earlier that year. When I found a very small three prong growing in a spot full of water. I don't know how it was still alive. I dug it with intentions of translating thinking it was young. To my surprise it had 56 scares. The root itself was the size of a marble. It's always exciting finding those old ones. Good luck to u hikers. Great find.
I found a 3 prong at the bottom of a bluff last year in a spot that I walked right by two years earlier looking and it was in a real easy place to spot, but I did not see it two years earlier. I expect it had been browsed - it was in a easy place for deer to get to too.
But it was about a 8-10\" tall 3 prong - did not look special at all.
When I got to digging it I was like you - I was impressed with the root neck and scar count.
I think it may have been in the 40 year old range - possibly more.
Here is a pic of it - not a real big root but a impressive root neck.