Ginseng seed is one of the most unique seeds coming from
the native plants which once inhabited this country. This uniqueness
is also one of the major reasons that ginseng (panax quinquefolius) is now
included on the endangered species list.
seed will begin
to develop on plants once they have reached maturity (at least 3 years old
and often times 8-10 years old in the wild). During the early summer
months tiny white flowers will be noticeable upon close inspection. Over
the next two months these flowers will develop into bright red berries containing
the ginseng seeds. These berries (containing the seeds) will then fall
to the forest floor. Only a very small fraction of these seeds will
survive to sprout and have a chance at growing. The reason for this
is that the seeds require about 18 months to germinate and eventually sprout.
During this time they are extremely vulnerable to rodents and other
small animals or birds looking for a nutritious meal. Ginseng seed
will also dry out and die if it does not fall to the forest floor and receive
adequate protection from leaves or other types of mulch.
Only after the seed has survived for approximately 1
1/2 years will it then sprout during the second spring after it fell from
the plant. Overharvest of wild ginseng during the late 1800's and 1900's,
loss of habitat and this very difficult process of reproducing has led to
the near extinction of wild ginseng in many parts of the U.S. that once had
thriving populations of ginseng in the abundant harwood forests.
Stratified Ginseng Seed
Stratified ginseng seed is seed that has been harvested
from the plants and put into moist sand for one year. This
process helps protect the seed from predators and "mother nature" while
the embryo develops and grows. After one year
in these "seed
boxes" it is removed from the sand and is ready to be planted. Stratified
seed can be planted throughout the fall and into early spring (Mid August
through the end of March). These seeds will then sprout in spring and
be well on their way to hopefully reaching mature size.
It is recommended that only stratified seed be planted
when planting ginseng. (Seed that has just been harvested and placed
in the sand is known as green seed.) By planting stratified seed the
seed is only vulnerable for a very short time period and thus chances of
survival are much greater.
For more information on planting ginseng seed go to Ginseng
Growing Instructions or to view a listing of our products go to Price