Wow that is a nice root but what really makes it special is the age and how all of those roots developed and then branched over and another developed and another and another, and you can see all of the root necks with scars in between.
It really does not fit the description of \"bulby or corky\" but the age and the fact that you can see the age in the timeline with all of those root neck scars is what makes that one EXTRA SPECIAL.
Not all of our seng is like the big bulby roots in that picture. In deep shade on the average wooded hillside I find a lot of seng like you are describing 8-10\" tall mostly sort of spindly 3 prongs with roots of 1/4 oz or less even if very old.
In fact if you look at that picture again, the 4 small roots to the right of that 20.00 were found on a north facing hillside in deep timber shade, soil type was mostly clay and they were 20+ years old and weighed less than 1/4 oz.
But just about 1/4 mile from the spot where those 4 small old roots were found, there is a place where a limestone bluff is just above the creek and at that point the bluff is facing due east. All of those big bulby roots were found on that bluff, they were getting really good morning sun, but no direct evening sun. The soil on that bluff was filled with rock chips and I expect very high in calcium.
Here is a couple more pics showing those bluff roots I found that day.
Like someone said earlier - Location, Location, Location.
I always follow the water.springs comming down the hill sides in reveanes or stream edges.River hill side is the only place I'm finding seng so far.Faces east to north east slopes.As far as bed rock cliffs very few around here.The part of the mountians are very old,but they are still steep.
I hunted another bluff (this one was more north/east facing) in a different area of the county later last fall and found the same quality of seng growing there. Just biger, heathier, taller, lots of berries, taller berry stems, big broad leaves.
Our creek/river blufs around here are usually anywhere from 200-300' tall and the bottom 1/4 of the hill there will be a few places where there are some flats or places where it is not too steep. Up at the top it will be just a rock face, very steep, but down towards the bottom it will sort of flatten out some and in those more flat areas all of the leaf litter from above falls and collects and with winter freeze and thaw, lots of rocks break off from the bluff and the soil is just full of rock chips.
Most of the bottom part of the hill may be fairly steep 12/12 like pitch, but with a few areas of flats or less steep places on it.
That is where you got to mountain goat on up there and look around. It may be hard going, but it may be well worth it.
After I dug all those big fat roots on that bluff on Sept 3, I went back down to that same bluff later in the season, around the first of October and looked another spot over good and found several more.
Below is a youtube vid that shows what I found on that return trip.
Take a look at the root on that first big broad leaved 3 that I dug - again nice and fat and very short root neck.
I found around 25 roots on that section of bluff and all were nice and fat, bulby, corky type roots, and all had lots of root hairs, and all had very short root necks (looked to be between 5-8 years old). Most weighted between 1 oz and 1.5 oz.
I think one of the keys to finding good seng her in Middle TN and perhaps West TN is going to be finding places where you have large exposed rock faces that face North-to-East and hunting the flats around the bottom of them. Or hollows that have rock out croppings or just extra rocky soil.
Back in 2008 me and my partner dug 6 lbs 3 oz or green seng in 5-6 hours in a hollow named Rockey Hollow.
It was rightfully named.
If you have any hollows in your area named like Rocky Hollow or Rocky Branch - better see if you can get permission to hunt em.
Nice root! Came out of the woods with 9 oz today. Looks a lot like Tnhunter's in his very nice pic. I dig in Northeast TN, around 2500' to 4000' altitude. Don't find very much higher than that. Do find 'seng in various body types; short and fat, long and carrot-like, and the traditional man figure. Mostly, I'm just thankful for what I do get. It's a true blessing to get to live where I do, prowl the woods, and make a little money doing it. Good luck to you all this season.