Nice pics I was hoping to find a 5 prong but wasn't to convinced I would being my first season. I feel so stupid, I have been a hunter and morel hunter my whole life, and im just now realizing how amazing ginseng hunting is. After I found my first few I was hooked, everyday after that when I went out I stayed out for 6-8 hours each time. I think ginseng hunting is a close second to my favorite which has always been whitetail hunting. I'm addicted and its driving me nuts that all the tops are done here. that said I found 4 nice four prongs this year and alot of nice three prongs and will have just over a dry pound. As long as I'm able I will not miss out on the fun again. Thanks for the pic I hope t o find one some day.
maya, that's a good question, and I really don't know the answer. It had a really nice sized root however, it didn't have a really long rhizome like I had found on some other smaller 3 prongs. You would think it would have to be fairly old for 5 prongs and really nice sized leaves. I'm pretending it's a 100 years old..
I find really big tops and roots along bluffs (very steep rocky hillsides) here in my area too... and even though the top may be 2-3x as large as my average woods seng... the necks are not all that long. Sometimes only showing 5-8 flats on the neck but being huge 4 prongers.
I think in those ideal locations, it can just get extra large in a shorter time than usual.
The cultivated ginseng that is grown in artificial shade... it just 4-6 years those things are monster 4 prongers.
I think the wild stuff can do very similar growth wise (not hardly that fast, but not far behind either) if it is just in an ideal location.
I have never found a 5 prong myself... but when I do (still got my hopes up).. I would bet it would be on a steep rocky hillside, like along a river or creek bluff.
Congrats on a good year senging this year... and a great way to end the season with that special 5 prong top.