Virginia Ginseng Law and Regulations
• No license is required to harvest wild ginseng on private land in Virginia, but permission must be obtained from the landowner or managing authority.
• Anyone in Virginia who purchases ginseng for resale state must obtain a dealer’s license from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
• The harvest season for wild ginseng in Virginia is from August 15 to December 31, except that this does not apply to harvest on one’s own land. Ginseng harvested during this season must be sold to a dealer by March 31 or be certified by the state.
• Virginia’s ginseng coordinator recommends that wild ginseng be harvested only after the berries are red, and that harvested plants have at least 4 prongs. The state’s ginseng coordinator also recommends that seeds from harvested wild ginseng be planted at the site of digging.
• The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Plant & Pest Services, Endangered Species Coordinator, serves as the state’s ginseng coordinator, and can be reached at (804) 786-3515 or by addressing correspondence to:
P.O. Box 1163
• A permit is required to collect ginseng in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Only plants with at least 4 prongs may be taken, and only from September 15 to November 30. Contact the office for these Forests at (540) 265-5100 or via mail:
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
The indigenous plant, Panax quinquefolius L., of the Araliaceae family, commonly referred to as ginseng, is hereby declared a threatened plant species when it occurs in the wild. All persons buying wild ginseng or otherwise accepting this plant or part thereof for resale shall be licensed to do so and shall acquire wild ginseng or parts thereof in accordance with this chapter and the rules and regulations established by the authority of this chapter. The wild ginseng harvest season shall be August 15 to December 31 annually. If any person takes wild ginseng, other than from his own land, on any other date it shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to buy any threatened species or part thereof, which is listed in this chapter or rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, without first obtaining a license to do so from the Commissioner. Provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to the purchase or sale of real property upon which such threatened species or part thereof may be located. Application forms shall be provided by the Commissioner and shall be completed and returned with a fee of ten dollars made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. Licenses shall expire on December 31 annually and there shall be no abatement in the annual fee. Licenses may be revoked at any time by the Commissioner for good cause.
B. The buyer of any threatened species or part thereof shall maintain and keep records of all purchases for the preceding twelve months on forms prescribed by the Commissioner. Records shall be sent or otherwise provided to the Commissioner within thirty days following the expiration of the license. Records shall be made available to the Commissioner or his assistants during normal business hours for examination or information.
All persons who have ginseng either wild or artificially propagated in any quantity and who wish to export any amount out of the Commonwealth shall obtain an export certificate from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to persons exporting ginseng for personal or individual use in quantities not exceeding eight ounces in any calendar year. To obtain an export certificate, an individual shall keep accurate records of the year of harvest and the county of origin of the ginseng. In the case of dealers, a person shall keep accurate records of purchases, quantity purchased, whether the ginseng was wild or cultivated, county of origin, and the name of the seller. Such records shall be presented to the Commissioner or his assistants for inspection.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated thereto shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.