Ginseng Digging Season Starts September 1

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Ginseng Digging Season Starts September 1

Ginseng plant with berries
Ginseng plants are ready to harvest when their berries turn red. Plants with at least three prongs are old enough to harvest. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s 2014 ginseng digging season starts Monday, Sept. 1 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 30. The native herb grows in all of the state’s 55 counties and is ready to harvest when its berries turn red. West Virginia state law requires “sengers,” those who dig the root, to only harvest plants with three or more prongs. The number of prongs indicates the age of the plant. Only plants 5-years old and older can legally be harvested. In addition, sengers are required to replant the berries/seeds from the parent plant in the spot where they harvested it to help continue the species.

The following laws also apply to the harvesting of ginseng:
  • No permit is needed to dig wild ginseng, but anyone digging ginseng on someone else’s property must carry written permission from the landowner allowing him or her to harvest ginseng on the property.
  • Digging ginseng on public lands, including state forests, wildlife management areas or state parks, is prohibited.
  • Diggers have until March 31 of each year to sell to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer or have roots weight-receipted at one of the Division of Forestry weigh stations.
  • Possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from April 1 through Aug. 31 without a weight-receipt from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
Beginning Sept. 1, a list of registered ginseng dealers for 2014-2015 will be available in the ginseng section of www.wvforestry.com.

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News Release:  Aug. 12, 2014

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Leslie Fitzwater Smithson, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102, Leslie.C.Smithson@wv.gov

Contact: Robin Black, 304-558-2788 ext. 51764, Robin.S.Black@wv.gov