Panax quinquefolius (PAN-ax quin-que-FOLE-ee-us)
COMMON NAMES: GINSENG
LOCATION: Full shade
PLANTING: Plant roots in spring or fall. Roots should be dug in the fall and planted in the spring for best results.
HEIGHT: 10 to 20 inches
SPREAD: 8 to 12 inches
FINAL SPACING: 12 inches
BLOOM/FRUIT: After 3 year maturation has small yellow-green flowers, then sets berries.
GROWTH HABITS/CULTURE: Likes cool, shady spots. Ginseng is a small plant with a long root and has compound leaves of five leaflets with toothed edges. Summer-borne flowers are greenish yellow followed by small red berries. Big fleshy roots that can grow to a 2 foot depth. Needs deep, well drained, acid soil.
PROBLEMS: Heat, some chewing insect damage. Needs plenty of moisture and shade. Slow growing. Seed germination takes 18-24 months.
HARVEST/STORAGE: Don’t harvest for at least three years. 5th or 6th year is best. Dig the roots in the fall.
CULINARY USES: None.
MEDICINAL USES: General tonic. Used as a tonic and to treat a wide range of ailments, including nausea, vomiting and irregular menstrual flow. Ginseng is also reputed to have aphrodisiacal and anti-fatigue effects. Siberian ginseng is reported to be the most powerful
as a sexual stimulant. American ginseng is excellent for endurance, vitality and anti-depression. According to Dr. Judy Griffin the ginseng grown in Texas has not had good medicinal qualities. Ginseng tea should not be stored more than a day to prevent loss of medicinal power.
LANDSCAPE USES: None
OTHER USES: Make a fairly good container plant.
INSIGHT: Ginseng gets its name from the Chinese word schinseng meaning “man-shaped”. Ginseng can have the same effect as caffeine on sleep.