I planted several pounds of seed (wild simulated) 4 years ago. I have lots of 2 and 3 prong plants but they only have 1 or 2 seeds each (often no seeds). Is this typical or are they being eaten before I get to them? Also, since there is too little seed to stratify I've just been planting the seeds directly into the soil (as nature intended) Any tips for this?
aaron this sounds pretty typical to me. a lot of my two prongs and young three prongs only have say two to 10 seeds on them. And yes just like me i don't really have a whole lot right now so i just plant them way nature intended. And i usually have high germination on my seeds i do this way. It takes about six to ten years for a plant really to get a good cluster of berries and the older it gets the more it will get.
I agree with Hillbilly. depending on the soil and shade and many variables, it can take many years for wild ginseng to develop into seed producers. It is possible for it to never produce seeds and just kind of hang on growing very slowly.
I posted in another thread how i have some two year old roots that have come up as two prong and then surprisingly, some of those produced a few seeds. Now over the hill from the house on a North facing slope, I have three to four year roots that some are still coming up as sprouts, some (most) are still two prong plants and not producing seed. Others (a few) are three prongs and just producing a few seeds each.
There are just so many variables to consider. First you must consider the genetics of the seed. Most everything we are planting has come out of a ginseng farm where the roots are grown in very soft fertile ground and may have some of the wild bred out of them. Then there is the micro environment right where the seed is planted, and that involves so much. Too much shade, too little shade, not enough calcium in the soil, many other plants competing for the available nutrients in that micro environment. Then the overall environment of the sight. Too many rodents after the roots and countless obsticles for the young plants.
I would think that if you find some plants that are aggressively adaptive to your site and good seed producers, those are the seeds you want to be sure to get back into the ground in that site to carry that particular seed genetics throughout your site. Just my two cents.
Just to give some perspective on conditions, yesterday I saw a lone small 3 stem plant w/ no berries all by itself with nothing anywhere around it. I had to take a look and started digging, what a surprise! The neck was over 3\" long and had a skinny but long root. The soil was not good in my mind, brown and very firm, so I think thats why it was all by itself. It did grow but not very big and I' m not sure but I don't think it produced berries.