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American Ginseng

American ginseng plant

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a native perennial plant and an important forest crop. It grows on well drained, rich soils under northern hardwoods. Much of New York State has the potential for growing ginseng, and it can be an important source of income for many New Yorkers.

Protection Status

American ginseng is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement between countries to ensure that international trade in certain plants and animals does not threaten their survival in the wild. American ginseng was listed in CITES Appendix II in 1975 due to concerns of the species being overharvested as a consequence of international trade. Appendix II allows trade that biologically sustainable and legal, and includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. In order to ensure that American ginseng roots are legally and sustainably harvested, CITES permits issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are required to export American ginseng. For more information about CITES and American ginseng, please see the links in the right column.

Ginseng Program

New York's ginseng program exists to ensure the survival of the species in the wild, compliance with all Federal and International laws and regulations, and the viability of New York ginseng as a valuable forest product.

American ginseng plant with berries

In 1987 regulations were adopted that established practices for the harvest and sale of American ginseng in New York State (6 NYCRR 193.4-193.8). These regulations established conservation practices including a ginseng harvest season and requirements for harvesting only mature plants. They also created a dealer permitting system and certification procedures. A year later, the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved the New York State American Ginseng Program and lifted a ban on the export of New York grown ginseng. The program is reviewed annually to ensure that it meets all the federal requirements under CITES.

No ginseng may be harvested from any State Lands or from Finger Lakes National Forest. Ginseng diggers must obtain written permission from the landowner before harvesting on private property. Only mature plants may be harvested and the berries must be replanted immediately.

Ginseng forms, lists and regulations:

New York State American Ginseng Regulations

2013 New York State Ginseng Dealer List (PDF) (100 KB)

New York State Ginseng Dealer Permit Application (PDF) (14 KB)

New York State Ginseng Dealer Information Release Form (PDF) (13 KB)

New York State Ginseng Dealer Record & Report Form (PDF) (51 KB)

New York State Ginseng Inspectors
Region Contact Address Phone Fax E-mail
0 Jason Denham NYS DEC, Division of Lands & Forests
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4253
518-402-9425 518-402-9028 jpdenham@gw.dec.state.ny.us
1 John Wernet NYS DEC, SUNY at Stony Brook
50 Circle Road
Stony Brook, NY 11790-2356
631-444-0285 631-444-0272 jdwernet@gw.dec.state.ny.us
2 Jeffrey Speich NYS DEC
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407
718-482-4942 718-482-4502 jmspeich@gw.dec.state.ny.us
3 George Profous NYS DEC
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561-1696


845-255-4659 george.profous@dec.ny.gov
4 Jason Drobnack NYS DEC
65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1 (Jefferson Road)
Stamford, NY 12167
607-652-7365 607-652-2342 jmdrobna@gw.dec.state.ny.us
5 Rich McDermott NYS DEC
232 Golf Course Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885
518-623-1200 518-623-3603 rlmcderm@gw.dec.state.ny.us
6 Andrea Mercurio NYS DEC
7327 State Route 812
Lowville, NY 13367
315-376-3521 315-376-8059 almercur@gw.dec.state.ny.us
7 John Graham NYS DEC
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-1090
607-753-3095 607-753-8532 jjgraham@gw.dec.state.ny.us
8 Tad Norton NYS DEC
7291 Coon Road
Bath, NY 14810-9728
607-776-2165 607-776-4392 rtnorton@gw.dec.state.ny.us
9 Chris Enser NYS DEC
182 East Union Street, Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706-1328
716-372-0645 716-372-2113 caenser@gw.dec.state.ny.us

More about American Ginseng: