Saturday, February 7, 2015

What happens when a ginseng seed sprouts? The first year ginseng seedling.

Many of us planted ginseng seeds last fall and are anxiously awaiting the first signs of germination this spring. How does a ginseng seed germinate and what does a ginseng seedling look like?

Ginseng expert, Scott Persons, explains in our book, Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Botanicals:
"The First-year Seedling: When it sprouts between late April and early June, a ginseng seedling has a small, short stem supporting three tiny furled leaflets. Within four or five weeks of sprouting, the herb is about three inches tall and leaflets are unfurled and fully developed. At this point, the seedling looks something like a wild strawberry plant. No further foliar growth occurs after midsummer, even if leaflets are damaged or lost. This is true in subsequent growing seasons as well. In autumn, the foliage turns a rich yellow ocher and soon dies off, often hastened by the frost.
"When the ginseng seed germinates in the spring, it is the young root, or radicle, that first emerges through the seed husk. However, the root does not develop to any appreciable extent until mid-summer, after the leaflets have unfurled and completed their season's growth. The small skinny root then grows from midsummer through the fall and develops a solitary bud at its top, below the ground. The root survives the winter, freezing as the ground freezes. It is from the bud that the single stem and leaves will grow and unfurl the following spring. Interestingly, examination of the bud under magnification reveals the configuration of the next year's foliar top (that is, the number of prongs and leaflets)."

Learn about the entire ginseng life cycle in chapter one of the book Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. You can order the book from this blog, from all the big online booksellers, at many local bookstores, and on Ebay.

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