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TOPIC: Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated

Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 5 months ago #8161

Here are two articles from Sylvans ginseng site.

It states that in New York and perhaps other states, that back about 100 years ago or more, there were many that planted ginseng seeds back into the wild.

I was not aware that they did this way back then.

Here is a quote from one article and the the link for them in full.

\"By bringing this fact to the surface, it will assuredly anger the many environmental groups that have directed their efforts to saving the \"wild\" ginseng. Whom, I might add, have my utmost respect and support in achieving their goals of protecting this beautiful native plant, but common sense must prevail. The call for the total ban on the digging of \"wild\" ginseng will do nothing more than accelerate the extirpation of the existing plants. I am of the belief that there is very little, if any, \"true\" wild ginseng remaining today, only old cultivated ginseng.\"



I don't know if I totaly believe this, but it was interesting reading.


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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 5 months ago #8162


Good articles - enjoyed reading them much.

If States really want to do something to protect the ginseng plant (what we have now whether true wild or wild simulated/cultivated from years of harvester planting) they should be encouraging seng harvesters to plant seed as they harvest.

Each State should requre harvesters to purchase a license for a small fee.

Then with that license the State should provide each harvester with a pound of seed.

The license fee could cover the seed cost.

Harvester education on proper planting and other good stewardship practices should also be provided before you can get the license.

Then States also need to do something \"much more serious\" law wise to discourage those who harvest out of season - heafty fines if caught 10,000.00 for example, with work duty associated as well - like planting 10 lbs ginseng seed - and no license available for 5 years.

Right now there is just very little to discourage (in most States) those who harvest out of season (before berries are ripe).

Something like that - would be much better (for ginseng) than for example States out-lawing the harvest of (what they are thinking is wild seng).



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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 5 months ago #8163


Those were very interesting reads. I'm hopeful that the government doesn't step in and overregulate the harvesting of this plant. I didn't see this mentioned in either article, but I think if regulations get really strict, what would the incentive be to plant seeds in the wild for most folks? Let's be honest, the reason most of us are planting seeds by the pound is to reap some sort of financial benefit in the future. I'm all for conservation and keeping plants, or anything for that matter, from becoming extinct, but let's face it, if there is some sort of cap on the amount of seng harvested, those large patches of seng being planted for the future are done. Some good conservationists may take smaller amounts of seeds out to plant them, but my guess is a majority of peoples attitudes would be \"why bother?\".

I agree with TNhunter when he says better education is the key. Maybe each state should require a license. Perhaps set up one or two days each week that licenses can be issued and show a 10 minute video before people can get their license. The message would certainly fall on some deaf ears, but if you can convert one or two people in an area each year, that's a start.

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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 5 months ago #8164

That's a good idea Jacquo. A class, maybe 1/4 lb of seed to plant and a close eye on dealer's purchase records from licensed diggers only would help. A thirty dollar license fee would cover it I would think but I am like most people though... the government is big enough and and I am also aggravated with their meddling in people's lives but I also hate to see the extinction of our wild ginseng.

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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 5 months ago #8175

It's funny how things line up sometimes. I spoke to my uncle recently, and the topic of ginseng came up. I told him about the super nice patch I found on my property. To give some background, this patch was in a place I never bothered to look because of the large amount of oak trees in the vicinity. When walking those woods, there was an area within the area that was virtually oak free, and in the small area were dozens of old mature ginseng plants. I'm guessing they were 30-40 years old. My uncle told me his best guess is they were planted by an old man that used to roam around our small town when my uncle was just a kid. My uncle said this old man never had a car or drivers license, and he walked wherever he went, a since there weren't as many houses or fence lines in those days, he often cut through the woods. My uncle knew he was a ginseng hunter back then, and that he had several patches all over the place. His best guess is that old guy planted those on our place years ago and never made it back.

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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 4 months ago #8493

I agree that very little if any is really wild. The planting of seed has been going on since the early 1700's.


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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 2 months ago #8821

To address the issue of seed planting while harvesting.......

The reason why diggers arn't provided with seeds for planting, at least in the areas where you can still buy a harvesting permit - like in Ohio on the Wayne National Forest, is that the feds. are specifically discouraging the planting of any seeds, unless they come off the plant being harvested. They addressed this in the most recent ginseng findings report. They are saying that planting seeds of unknown or cultivated origin will destroy the \"wild\" ginseng populations. There are certainly diseases that can be seed borne, but things have been done this way for a very long time. I agree that much of the \"wild\" ginseng was probably planted by someone at some point in time, and has just become naturalized. The USDA and other gov. agencies use to promote ginseng and goldenseal as good cash crops, putting out bulletins on how to grow and where to get seeds and rootlets for planting. They use to sell seeds in Sears and Roebuck Catalogs, and through the ginseng/goldenseal grower publications that were produced in the late 1880's and early 1900's.

Getting back to the original point.......in order to soothe the concerns of the regulators about contaminating wild populations, and the need to provide diggers with seeds, we need States to develop seed bank programs where \"wild\" genetic stock can be raised for seed stock. This could be a big step towards restoration and conservation. There is a human element to restoration of populations, and the continued use of the resource.

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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 2 months ago #8826

I agree with Guy and I truly believe the majority of our \"Presumably Wild\" ginseng is the 1st 2nd 5th or 10th generation offspring or more from plants that have been naturalized from seeds purchased and planted by woodsmen sometime within the last couple of hundreds of years.

There are many well know experts that share this same view. I am not an expert but I have read and observed much on my own and discussed this with many that I would consider experts. Wild Ginseng has been over harvested for centuries here in America and some say more so in the past than the present. However, there are many good ginseng hunters that practice good stewardship and have planted millions upon millions of seeds from \"Presumably Wild\" ginseng. The majority of these seeds from the plants being dug in season would not have survived if it were not for the good stewardship practices of these ginseng hunters.

The reason we hear about over harvesting is because the ginseng season was not properly maintained and monitored in the old days and good stewardship of the woods practices were not observed by all. However, the reduction in habitat could be the biggest factor.

There is always going to be some ginseng hunters that are going to dig when they want to dig and not adhere to the law. I know many ginseng buyers that refuse to buy ginseng that was dug out of season. Roots lacking a growth bud is a sure tell sign that the ginseng was dug too early. If the few that are trying to sell their illegally dug roots cannot find a buyer, they will start to think twice about digging ginseng out of season.

So anyone thinking that eliminating the opportunity for good people to go out and dig \"Presumably Wild\" ginseng or \"Wild\" ginseng will ensure the rebound of ginseng is mistaken in my opinion.

If a ginseng hunter digs one root and replants the 30 to 50 seeds that were take from that plant, then ginseng will rebound. How is that you say. Well those same 30 to 50 seeds if left to mother nature will only have about a 5 % germination success rate. Mother nature knows this and that is why a ginseng plant produces so many seeds. I have seen it a hundred times. How many times have all of us found a 30 year old plant with only 3 or 4 offspring growing close buy. It is the norm. What happened to those hundreds upon hundreds of seeds that one plant produced over it's lifespan? Some seeds get eaten by animals but in most cases they have dropped to the leaf litter and had laid on top the leaves and dried out and died.

With the drought we had this past year the seeds ripened and fell off early. I found one large plant that had over 50 dried out seeds laying scattered out at the base of the stem. None of these seeds will grow. Plant those same 50 seeds and at least 15 to 20 of them will survive to adulthood. So in essence you lose one root to being dug but 15 to 20 new ginseng plants will grow over time. That is a pretty good trade off.

It would be great to have ginseng hunters plant seed provided to them from the state. However, is this ever going to really happen. These seeds would be no different than from what can be purchased from ginseng growers raising \"Wild Simulated\" or even \"Woods Cultivated\" seed.

Many ginseng hunters walk miles upon miles to find ginseng and yes there is pressure on ginseng from land development and a reduction in habitat. It does get more difficult to find those large patches that we all found 30 or more years ago.

For anyone who reads this forum it should be of interest to them that there are many seasoned ginseng hunters buying their own seed and planting it to harvest their own plants. Some of the larger ginseng growers raising \"Wild Simulated\" and \"Woods Cultivated\" ginseng and selling seed are stating that they are selling more seed now than ever. So there is a movement in growing ginseng and this fact alone will further relieve the pressure off of \"Presumably Wild\" ginseng. The USDA and other Government agencies need to recognize this and go with it and stop trying to protect a \"Wild\" ginseng population that might not even exist today. Besides if a plant grown from seed purchased should cross pollinates with a \"Presumably Wild\" ginseng plant, that is better than the alternative of not having planted seed to relieve the pressure.

I am not opposed to paying a reasonable price to get a ginseng license each year. We do it to Hunt and Fish. So why not for ginseng hunting. At the time of the license purchase each person could receive a brochure on how to grow ginseng. Some of the money from purchasing the license could even go towards giving the ginseng hunter some seed to plant to get them interested in growing ginseng along with the brochure of \"how to\" and \"where to buy\" seed to plant.

OK, I feel like I was standing on my Soap Box too long here, but the answer seems all to clear to me. My lunch break is over and I have to get back to work. Food for thought thou and just one mans opinion.

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Re:Articles worth reading. Wild or Cultivated 13 years 2 months ago #8836

Another reason why we have seen a declining trend in the ginseng harvest over several years is that there are fewer people in the woods harvesting 'sang. Ginseng digging is an old-timey thing. Basically everyone involved in it, is taught how to hunt, dig, etc. by someone who has experienced it before, i.e. it is a generational type thing that is passed on from person to person. Just by looking at the dominant social norms of our society it is not hard to imagine why this happened. Many younger folks are not interested in the woods lore and culture of Appalachia. As the older generations pass on, and the younger generations have decreasing interest, you get less people in the woods.

Touching on another point in this thread about the amount of seeds planted over the years and the status of truly \"wild\" ginseng.......

Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), presented some numbers at the USFWS public meeting prior to the ginseng findings report in 2009 about seed sales from only a handful of buyers (who also sold seed) who are on the AHPA Non-Timber Forest Products Committee. Using a conservative mortality rate, these numbers from just a few seed suppliers indicate that, 40% more seed was planted than roots harvested over the last 10 years. Basically all seeds were going for wild-simulated planting. Those numbers are in the 2009-2010 ginseng findings report on pg. 16.

Depending on how you want to look at it, these numbers are suggesting that a large amount of wild-simulated root will be coming to market very soon, OR a lot of the \"wild\" 'sang being sold is actually wild-simulated. I would lean toward the latter part of that statement considering those numbers were for only 10 years, when these guys have been selling seed for 20 plus years, and some of their fathers were doing it for many years before them, not to mention that those seeds sales were from ONLY 10 people or less!!!! Expand those numbers out to inlcude all other seed distributors in the U.S., and that is a lot of ginseng being planted.

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