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August 1, 2013

Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today new regulations for the harvest and purchase of wild ginseng. Wild American ginseng is listed as a threatened species in Virginia and VDACS is responsible for regulating ginseng harvest and sales in the Commonwealth. 

Regulation of the Harvest and Purchase of Wild Ginseng, 2VAC5-321, is being adopted to assist in ensuring the survival of wild ginseng in the Commonwealth and address concerns expressed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the sustainability of wild ginseng in Virginia. The regulation requires that wild ginseng root is harvested only from plants which have produced fruit, the fruit has ripened and the fruit is planted by the harvester in the area where the wild ginseng was harvested. To allow adequate time for fruit ripening, the ginseng harvest will now start September 1 of each year.  Previously, the starting date for ginseng harvest was August 15.

Regulation of the Harvest and Purchase of Wild Ginseng includes the following provisions:

The regulations regarding the harvest of ginseng do not apply to any person harvesting wild ginseng from their own land. Nonetheless, landowners are encouraged to observe the same general guidelines in order to ensure the continued, long-term viability of wild ginseng in their property.

The root of the American ginseng plant is valued as a medicinal herb. Over the past several years, approximately 4,000 pounds of ginseng roots worth about $2.5 million dollars were harvested annually in Virginia.  In 2012 the average price for a pound of wild ginseng root purchased in Virginia was $580. 

Each year about 4 million pounds of dried ginseng roots worth over $25 million are harvested in North America for shipment to Asia. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the issuance of ginseng export permits. 

For more information, contact Keith Tignor, Office of Plant Industry Services, at 804.786.3515 or

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