The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of wild ginseng, Panax quinquefolius L., in Virginia. Wild ginseng is listed as a threatened plant under Virginia’s Endangered Plant and Insect Species Act. The Regulation of the Harvest and Purchase of Wild Ginseng was adopted by the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to ensure the continued viability of this threatened plant.
Requirements for the harvest of wild ginseng
- The harvest season begins September 1 and ends December 31 of each year.
- Harvest is prohibited from January 1 - August 31. Ginseng may be harvested year round from an individual’s own land.
- Wild ginseng may NOT be harvested if it:
a. Is younger than five years of age;
b. Has fewer than four stem scars present on its rhizome; or
c. Has fewer than three prongs.
- A person who harvests wild ginseng must plant the seeds of the harvested plant at the harvest site at the time of harvest.
Requirements for the sale of wild ginseng
Licensed dealers may purchase:
- Certified wild ginseng at any time throughout the year.
- Uncertified green wild ginseng root ONLY from September 1 of each year through January 14 of the following year.
- Uncertified dry wild ginseng root ONLY from September 15 of each year through March 31 of the following year.
Requirements for the resale or export of wild or artificially propagated ginseng
- Anyone who transports more than 8 ounces of ginseng from the Commonwealth of Virginia in a calendar year must first obtain an export certificate from VDACS.
- Individuals or companies purchasing ginseng in Virginia for the purpose of reselling must first obtain a Ginseng License from VDACS.
List of Individuals and Businesses Licensed to Purchase Ginseng for Resale
A list of individuals and businesses licensed to purchase ginseng for resale is available here.
Other Requirements, Considerations and Additional Information
Additional requirements for the harvest, sale and export of wild and artificially propagated ginseng are available from the Ginseng Management Program in the Office of Plant Industry Services.
Harvesting Ginseng from Someone Else’s Property
Individuals intending to harvest from another’s land should obtain permission in writing from the landowner before removing any ginseng plants or plant parts, and also to carry the permission with them while searching or digging for ginseng.
Harvesting Ginseng from Local or State Land
The removal of ginseng plants from local or state lands is generally prohibited without obtaining written permission beforehand. Individuals should contact the appropriate local or state authority responsible for management of the public lands to determine if ginseng harvesting is permissible and the permits those authorities may require.
Harvesting Ginseng from Federal Land
At present, permits are not being issued for the collection of ginseng from national forests or parks due to concerns over the viability of ginseng on public lands.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Plant Industry Services
Endangered Species Coordinator
P. O. Box 1163
Richmond, VA 23218