So I've got my permit but wasn't able to make it out until the first week or so of October, when the leaves had already fallen. I didn't see any red berries, and assumed they had been eaten by the local wildlife.
I brushed away the leaf litter to confirm the neck scars and everything looked like it checked out. Multiple prongs, 5 leaves, scarred necks.
I had watched a few youtube videos on people digging up Ginseng and they all seemed to agree the best way was to use a trowel or something about 6 inches away from the root and kind of dig in a circle. This was not my experience. As you can see from these pictures, there are no \"carrot\" or \"potato\" type roots, and there were multiple plants growing from the same root system, sometimes yards apart. This pile you see here is from two digs, and each time I just wanted to dig one up out of a group to get a taste for it.
Am I digging up the wrong plant? Are the roots like this because of the terrain? I'm very confused and not planning on going forward this year until I've figured this out. My permit is good for three years, so I think next year I'll be getting out there a lot earlier, when the berries are still unripe, just to be sure I'm IDing the right plants, and then hopefully get to the berries before the animals do so that I can do some replanting.
Any help or advice would be gratefully appreciated.
Virginia Creeper has a similar leaf pattern and it grows on a vine, covering ground at times and climbing trees at times.
Below is a pic of a bunch of Virginia Creeper vine, growing mostly low like a ground cover in this case... and there is a 3 prong ginseng plant in there with it.
Notice how the VC has similar leaf pattern.... They both have clusters of 5 leaves...
But on the ginseng the leaf clusters are arranged in a pattern. The 3 larger leaves point out from the center, and the 2 smaller leaves point back to the center. In the center there is where the berry cluster would be if berries were on.