Pennsylvania Ginseng Law and Regulations
• No license is required to dig wild ginseng on private land in Pennsylvania.
• A commercial license must be obtained from the state by anyone who intends to export from the state any ginseng harvested in Pennsylvania.
• The harvest season for wild ginseng in Pennsylvania is August 1 to November 30. Possession of harvested fresh (“green”) ginseng is prohibited from April 1 and August 1.
• Pennsylvania state law requires that all harvested wild ginseng plants have at least 3 prongs of 5 leaflets each, and that plants are collected only when the fruit is red.
• Pennsylvania requires that seeds of collected wild ginseng be planted in the immediate vicinity of the collection site.
• Ginseng may not be harvested on state owned lands in Pennsylvania.
• The PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, serves as the state’s ginseng coordinator. This office can bereached at (717) 787-3444 or:
6th Floor, Rachel Carson
• A permit is required to collect ginseng in Allegheny National Forest, which can be contacted at (814) 723-5150 or via mail:
§ 45.61. Commercial license requirements.
A person may not buy, trade or barter Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants, or parts thereof, with the intent to sell them within this Commonwealth, or export these plants or parts from this Commonwealth, without first applying for and obtaining a commercial license in writing from the Department. A person may take or possess these plants if the activities are necessary to perform the licensed activity.
§ 45.62. Contents of commercial license application.
(a) An application for a license under this subchapter shall be submitted to the Department in writing, upon forms provided by the Department.
(b) An application for a commercial license shall be accompanied by information or data as the Department may require to determine compliance with the standards, requirements and purposes of the act and this chapter.
(c) Information set forth in the application shall be current and presented clearly and concisely.
(d) An application to obtain a commercial license shall contain the following information:
(1) The name, address and phone number of the applicant.
(2) The activity sought to be licensed.
(3) A brief and complete description of the applicant’s business as it relates to dealing in Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants.
(4) The address where books or records describing commercial transactions of Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants will be kept.
(5) The name, address and telephone number of the person authorized to make records or inventories of Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants available for examination by the Department.
(6) If the application is in the name of a business, the form of the business—for example, corporation, firm, partnership—and the name and address of each partner, officer, director and shareholder who owns 10% or more of the shares in the business.
(7) The common and scientific names of the Pennsylvania Vulnerable plant species for which a commercial license is sought.
(8) The commercial license history, including the identification numbers of previous commercial licenses that have been issued by the Department to the applicant.
(9) Other information the Department may require.
(e) An application shall be dated and signed by the applicant. Business applications shall be signed by a partner or officer, who shall set forth his title.
(f) An application for a commercial license shall be verified by the applicant with a statement that the information in the application is true and correct to the best of the applicant’s knowledge, information and belief.
§ 45.63. Criteria for license approval.
An application for a commercial license will not be approved unless the application affirmatively demonstrates and the Department finds, in writing, the following:
(1) The application is accurate and complete and the requirements of the act and this chapter have been satisfied.
(2) There is no history of past or continuing violations or conduct which indicate the applicant’s lack of ability or intention to comply with the act or this chapter.
§ 45.64. Commercial license fee and expiration.
(a) An application for a commercial license will be accompanied by a check payable to the ‘‘Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’’ in the amount of $50.
(b) A commercial license expires on June 30 of the year next following the year of its issuance.
§ 45.65. Transaction records.
(a) The holder of a commercial license issued under this subchapter shall maintain transaction records. The transaction records shall include the following information regarding Pennsylvania Vulnerable plant activities:
(1) The names and addresses of persons from whom the licensee purchased or otherwise acquired the Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants, and the dates of purchase or acquisition.
(2) The names and addresses of persons to whom Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants were deposited, traded, sold, transferred, bartered, exported or otherwise disposed of, and the dates upon which these activities occurred.
(3) The scientific and common names of the plants.
(4) The county of origin of the plants.
(5) A description of the form of the plants—for example, whole plant, root, seeds, green or dry.
(6) The year of harvest of the plants.
(7) The weight, destination and date of export for each shipment of the plants that are exported.
(8) A statement of whether the plants are wild or cultivated.
(9) The weight in pounds and ounces and estimated number of the plants per transaction. For the purposes of evaluating the number of ginseng plants per transaction, the estimated number of ginseng plants will be determined by taking a sample from each transaction of the number of ginseng roots in 1 pound.
(10) Other information the Department may require.
(b) The holder of a commercial license shall keep transaction records required to be maintained by this subchapter for 5 years after the occurrence of the transactions to which the records relate. The records shall be made available to the Department upon request.
(c) The holder of a commercial license to deal in ginseng shall submit a dealer quarterly report relating to transaction records, on forms provided by the Department within 15 days of the end of each quarter of the calendar year. This dealer report shall be submitted to the Department and shall contain the following information for the quarter:
(1) The date of the report.
(2) The quarter in which transactions occurred.
(3) The name, address and phone number of the licensee.
(4) The license number and date issued.
(5) The weight in pounds and ounces of wild ginseng purchased or otherwise acquired from harvesters, by county of harvest, and a statement of whether the roots were green or dried.
(6) The average price per pound paid for wild ginseng.
(7) The weight in pounds and ounces of cultivated ginseng purchased or otherwise acquired from growers, by county of harvest, and a statement of whether the roots were green or dried.
(8) The average price per pound for cultivated ginseng.
(9) The weight in pounds and ounces of ginseng purchased or otherwise acquired from other licensees, and a statement of whether the purchased or acquired ginseng was wild or cultivated and if roots were green or dried.
(10) The number of pounds and ounces of wild ginseng and of cultivated ginseng in the licensee’s possession on the reporting date.
(11) The weight in pounds and ounces of ginseng sold, traded or bartered, whether the ginseng was wild or cultivated and if roots were dried or green.
(12) The identification number of State certificates used to ship ginseng from this Commonwealth.
(13) Other information the Department may require.
(d) The holder of a commercial license to buy and sell ginseng shall submit an annual dealer report for the prior calendar year. The annual dealer report shall be completed on forms supplied by the Department and shall contain the information required in subsection (c) compiled for the previous calendar year. The report shall be submitted annually for the prior calendar year to the Department within 15 days of the beginning of the calendar year.
The provisions of this § 45.65 adopted December 4, 1987, effective January 1, 1988, 17 Pa.B. 5027; amended June 18, 1993, effective June 19, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 2816. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (123467) to (123468).
§ 45.66. Inspection and review.
The licensee shall make available for inspection by the Department transaction records and Pennsylvania Vulnerable plant materials to be sold, traded, bartered or exported and that are on the premises. The records shall be made available for copying by the Department.
§ 45.67. Transfer of license prohibited.
A commercial license is nontransferable.
§ 45.68. Revocation.
(a) The Department may revoke a commercial license it has issued, for good cause. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the following factors:
(1) Failure to comply with this chapter or the act.
(2) Failure to comply with a term or condition of the license.
(b) A person whose commercial license has been revoked is not eligible to apply for, and may not obtain, another commercial license for a period of 2 years from the date of revocation.
§ 45.69. Vulnerable plant harvest seasons and conditions.
(a) A person may not harvest ginseng except in compliance with applicable law, this chapter and the following restrictions:
(1) A person may harvest ginseng plants only from August 1 through November 30.
(2) Only mature ginseng plants with at least three leaves of five leaflets each may be harvested and only when the seeds are red.
(3) Persons harvesting ginseng plants shall plant the seeds from the plants in the immediate vicinity of the collection site.
(b) A person may not possess harvested, green ginseng roots between April 1 and August 1 of a calendar year.
(c) A person may not harvest Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants other than ginseng except in compliance with applicable law, this chapter and the following restrictions:
(1) A person may harvest the plants only if they are mature and the current year’s seeds have matured.
(2) A person harvesting the plants shall plant the seeds from the plants in the immediate vicinity of the collection site.
(3) A person may not harvest the plants in a way that will harm the species’ ability to perpetuate itself successfully.
(d) The permitted harvesting of Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants includes picking, taking, digging, disturbing and possessing the plants if the activities are necessary to legally harvest the plants. Possession of legally taken Pennsylvania Vulnerable plants is permitted.
§ 45.70. Pennsylvania ginseng certification.
(a) A person may not export Pennsylvania ginseng from this Commonwealth without first obtaining a commercial license and a Pennsylvania ginseng certificate.
(b) A Pennsylvania ginseng certificate shall be required for each export shipment of Pennsylvania ginseng.
(c) To be certified, the state of origin for wild ginseng or cultivated ginseng shall be Pennsylvania.
(d) A Pennsylvania ginseng certificate will not be issued unless the licensee presents the shipment to the Department at a designated facility and presents the following information on a Pennsylvania ginseng certificate application form, available from the Department:
(1) The licensee’s name and commercial license number.
(2) The date of the application.
(3) The name and address of buyer and export destination.
(4) A statement of whether the ginseng is wild or cultivated.
(5) A statement of whether the ginseng is green or dry.
(6) The year of harvest of ginseng being certified.
(7) The state of origin.
(8) The weight in pounds and ounces written numerically and in full and verified by a weigh slip from a Commonwealth certified weigh station or scale.
(9) The shipment number.
(10) Other information the Department may require.
(e) The Pennsylvania ginseng certificate application shall be verified by the licensee with a statement that the information contained in the form is true and correct to the best of the licensee’s knowledge, information and belief, and that the ginseng was legally taken under this chapter and applicable law.
(f) The Department may countersign the application and issue a Pennsylvania ginseng certificate if the Department is satisfied that the information in the application is complete, and if the Department finds that a representative sample supports the information in the application.
§ 45.71. Transfer of certificate prohibited.
A Pennsylvania ginseng certificate is nontransferable.
§ 45.72. Possession of unsold ginseng.
(a) A licensee who has ginseng unsold on March 31 of the year after harvest is required to obtain a weigh slip for the unsold ginseng from a Commonwealth certified weigh station or scale and submit a copy of that slip to the Department by May 1.
(b) A licensee may not obtain a Pennsylvania ginseng certificate to export unsold ginseng in the licensee’s possession in excess of the amount shown on the weigh slip.