Ginseng Growing in the Woods in New Hampshire
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The more I've studied and cared for American ginseng, the more enthralled and mystified I have become by this small, in obtrusive, slow growing, imperiled, sensitive woodland plant. According to the NH Department of Agriculture, there are only 17 confirmed sites in the state where ginseng grows wild. At each, there are fewer than 80 plants.
I have never seen ginseng growing wild in NH. I have seen it in Vermont. There, the soil is deeper and sweeter than it is here. I suspect that enhances ginseng's ability to survive. Despite it's rarity in NH, the the photos here suggest that the state does have favorable habitat where ginseng can thrive.
A mature plant is evidenced by at least three prongs, a large flower head that rises up above the leaves, and a stem with a length of more than 12 inches from the ground to the base of the prong.
The flowers will develop into berries that hold 2 or three seeds each. They turn red when ripe, usually in September.