Has anybody ever seen more than three prongs on a plant?
Yes. Several years ago when I used to hunt ginseng with my Dad and Uncle, the "four pronger" was the ultimate prize!
I have yet to see one! Dig they dig it? Do you remember how big the root was?
Gosh that's been YEARS ago, I coudn't even hazard a guess on the size or weight.
I have found many four prongs and have heard of (but not seen) a five prong. The strangest one I ever heard of was one an uncle found years ago. It was a four prong with a small three prong growing out of the stem where the seed pod is located. On top of the three prong was the seed pod. Kind of a double-decker seven prong. LOL
NativeVa, Here is a not-so-good picture of a four prong growing in my yard. My Dad planted the original stock over 50 years ago. He moved it to three different areas because he said I kept cutting it down with the lawn mower. I don't know how long a root will live in the ground, so the 30-40 plants there now are offsprings of the original ones I'm sure. Funny story...... Many (many, many) years ago, I was riding my bike home from school one Fall afternoon. It was on a dirt road with very few houses in the area. I decided to see how fast I could make the curve in the road. I hit a chuckhole and lost control. I went into the woods about 20-30 feet. The front wheel went between two saplings but the handlebars didn't. I fell off and checked to see if I had jarred any teeth loose. When I looked around I was lying smack-dad in a big patch of wild ginseng. Never knew any was around. Being 11-12 years old, this area kept me in a little spending money until the new houses went in. Sorry for the long post but thinking about 'sang brings back some great memories. Dan
I'm still looking for my first 4 pronger! When you say yard, do you mean a shaded yard or out with the grass? Do you dig and sell?
This message was edited Aug 10, 2011 6:55 AM
NativeVa, these plants are growing in a shaded corner of our front yard. There are wild roses, a small walnut tree and a bubbie bush providing shade and "hiding" them although I haven't met anyone from this area who knows what ginseng looks like. I plan on moving to SW. Virginia in the next couple years and will dig and move the plants with me. Since my Dad planted them I couldn't bear leaving them behind. Every Fall I scratch the fallen berries into the soil and always have new plants growing. I haven't dug any wild ginseng since the mid-late '90's. The little bit that I sold then was at a rate of $425 per pound. I found it hard to believe but my uncle sold some in 2007 for $900 a pound. There is an excellent article if you google "wild ginseng prices" and click on www.wild grown.com. At prices like that, maybe our legal system could rehabilitate drug dealers by helping them start a 'sang patch. lol
I was born in Lee Co. and most of my family live there. We moved to Ohio when I was a year old but go back often. No matter how long I'm away, it will always be "down home."
A pound of wild, fresh dug just went on Ebay for $307. I don't know what that would be dry.
Supply and demand rule this market just like so many other things. I remember hearing that after that big jump in price in 2007 that the next year the prices dropped like a rock. You have to figure that at $900 a pound that everybody and his brother were digging like crazy. The market was probably flooded and the following year the demand just wasn't there. I've heard that people who grow commercially sometimes let it grow another year hoping for a higher price. i've also heard that some growers are making lots of money selling the seeds to new growers plus they still have the roots in the ground. Sort of like a savings account. As far as prices for dry ginseng, I've always been told it takes between 3 and 4 pounds of fresh to make a pound of dry.
Went digging the other day, still nothing more than 3 prongers.
I found that the number of prongs is not a clear indication as to how big the root will be. Some of the three prongers I dug up had as big a root as a couple of the four prongers. What seemed to be a better clue to root size was the size of the stem at the base (and the number of prongs).
Wow.... Maybe i should search my yard for ginseng!? Never realized there was such a demand! I personally dislike the stuff but i would love to have a nice cash crop. :)