The aromatic root of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) resembles a small parsnip that forks as it matures. The plant grows 6" to 18" tall, usually bearing three leaves, each with three to five leaflets, 2" to 5" long.
Range map of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).
American Ginseng can be found in much of the eastern and central United States and in part of southeastern Canada. It is found primarily in deciduous forests of the Appalachian and Ozark regions of the United States. American ginseng is found in full shade environments in these deciduous forests underneath hardwoods. Due to this very specialized growing environment and its demand in the commercial market it has started to reach an endangered status in some areas. It can be found throughout eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.
In the United States, American ginseng is generally not listed as an endangered species, but it has been declared as a part of the endangered species scale by some states. States recognizing American ginseng as endangered: Maine, Rhode Island. States recognizing American ginseng as vulnerable: New York, Pennsylvania. States recognizing American ginseng as threatened: Michigan, New Hampshire, Virginia. States recognizing American ginseng as a special concern: Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee.