Ginseng Season in Georgia & Tennessee

Friday, August 9, 2002

The 2002 ginseng harvest season in Georgia is set to open August 15 and will run through December 31. Ginseng is a perennial herb native to much of eastern North America including Georgia. Ginseng roots are purported to have numerous medicinal properties and can be converted to a variety of forms such as pills, powders, extracts, and teas.

In Georgia, ginseng is not presently endangered or threatened but is rare. It is most abundant in the Southern Blue Ridge area or north Georgia mountain counties. Only plants with three or more prongs can be legally harvested, and diggers are required to replant ripe berries at the same location. Last season over 700 pounds of wild ginseng was harvested and sold in Georgia.

"Increasing demand for ginseng products has caused concern that wild ginseng populations might become depleted," said Jon Ambrose, Georgia Natural Heritage Program Manager. "Continuation of our wild ginseng harvest and export program depends upon the cooperation of our growers, dealers, and diggers. This includes accurate record keeping and good conservation practices to maintain compliance with federal and state laws."

The Ginseng Protection Act requires that all diggers must obtain written permission from the landowner prior to harvesting ginseng root, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resource Division. Ginseng growers and dealers must be registered with the Ginseng Management Program of the Wildlife Resource Division. Dealers and growers must maintain precise records of purchases and sales. County of origin, weight, and condition of purchased ginseng must be recorded
ight certified by a Wildlife Resources Division biologist before export. In addition, all harvested ginseng on hand and unsold by March 31, 2003, must be weighed and reported to the G
inseng Management Program. Ginseng Shipment Certificates and End-of-Season Weight Receipts are available from a certifying biologist.

Permits issued by the U. S. Forest Service are required for ginseng harvest on the Chattahoochee National Forest. Because ginseng is rare, some Forest Service districts do not allow harvesting. Diggers should check with the appropriate Forest Service district office to determine if ginseng digging is allowed and to obtain permits. No ginseng harvest is allowed on lands owned by the State of Georgia.

To register as a ginseng grower or dealer or for more information, contact the Georgia Natural Heritage Program, Ginseng Management, Wildlife Resources Division, 2117 US Hwy 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025, (770) 918-6411.

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