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GINSENG—DESCRIBED—Will you please give me a good description of the ginseng and golden seal plants? Do they die early in the fall and are they more valuable then?

The plant grows from eight to sixteen inches high, when in a wild state, a single stem, with usually only three branches, and each branch bears five leaves, the three end leaves being largest. In summer it bears a cluster of small yellowish flowers on a small stem branching from the top, and these flowers later give place to a bunch of berries which are red when ripe. The root looks like s small parsnip, but is usually less perfect in shape, and is frequently branched. The cultivated plant grows larger than the wild. The plants die late in the fall. The proper time to gather the roots is in late September or in October, after the plant has commenced to dry. The roots are at their best then and do not shrink so much in drying. The wild plant grows on timbered ground where there is plenty of shade and the soil is rich.

Golden seal grows to about a foot in height, a single upright stem with two short branches at the top, one bearing a large leaf and the other a small one. There are usually only two leaves, but sometimes a third very small one, without a stem is found. The flower and the seed berry, if any appear, come on the stem bearing the smaller leaf. The leaves are irregular in shape, having from five to nine lobes, and the larger when mature will measure six or eight inches in diameter. The flower is small and greenish white and has only three petals which fall off as soon as the flower is fully expanded, leaving only the stamens, which later take on the form of a large raspberry, red when ripe. The roots of the plant are bright yellow, and consist of a thick, chunky center with a large number of smaller rootlets. It dies down late in fall, like the ginseng, and the roots should be dug only in the fall. It grows naturally on rather open wooded ground.

Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.

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