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Microsoft word - panexquinquefolius.doc


Panax quinquefolius Telephone: (508) 389-6360/Fax: (508) 389-7891 State Status: Special Concern www.nhesp.org Federal Status: None Description: Ginseng is a perennial herb long known for the
reputed medicinal and aphrodisiac properties of its aromatic
root. The genus name Panax reflects the reputed value of
various species of ginseng as a cure all--or panacea. The
unbranched stem is 20 - 40 cm (8 - 15 in.) high and is topped
by a single whorl of 1 to 5 palmately compound leaves.
Usually, three compound leaves are produced, each with five
serrate (pointed and toothed) leaflets. The tiny flowers are
produced in a single, ball-like cluster in the fork where the
leaf stalks meet the stem. The five-petalled flowers are white
or greenish-yellow and are scented like lily-of-the-valley.
They appear from late June to mid July. The fruits, bright red
drupes one cm (0.4 in.) in diameter, are easily seen in the fall.
(Ginseng plants less than three years old usually bear no fruit,
and it takes 18-22 months between the time when the ripe
fruit drops to the ground and the time the seed will
Holmgren, N. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden. Similar species: Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus
Habitat: Ginseng favors cool, well-drained soils of rich, moist
quinquefolia), like ginseng, has five palmate leaflets, but it is deciduous woods. It may also be found on rocky talus slopes. usually a climbing or sprawling vine with tendrils. Also, the Among the specific habitats in Massachusetts are a variety of rocky leaves of Virginia-creeper are alternately arranged, unlike the habitats, including the tops of ledges, rocky talus slopes and whorled leaves of ginseng. Wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) jumbles, and rocky rich mesic woods; along a creek at the base of a is also similar in appearance to ginseng. In contrast to ginseng, its fern-covered slope; and various rich mesic forest habitats, including five leaflets are pinnately, not palmately, arranged and its flowers ones at the base of a dolomitic limestone ledge and one in a ravine. are borne on a stalk separate from the leafy stem. Dwarf ginseng None of the current sites is in full sun. Associated species include (Panax trifolium) has three leaflets that are directly attached to American basswood (Tilia americana), sugar maple (Acer the leaf stalk and are smaller than leaflets of ginseng. saccharum), white ash (Fraxinus americana), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), wild leek (Allium tricoccum), showy orchis (Orchis spectabilis), butternut (Juglans cinerea), shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), Dewey's sedge (Carex deweyana), wake-robin (Trillium erectum) and a variety of ferns (including Dryopteris spinulosa, Dryopteris goldiana, Polystichum acrostichoides and Adiantum pedantum). Several other rare plants share the same habitat in Massachusetts. Population status in Massachusetts: Ginseng is currently
listed as a "Species of Special Concern" in Massachusetts. As with
all species listed in Massachusetts, individuals of the species are
protected from take (picking, collecting, killing.) and sale under
the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Species of Special
Distribution in Massachusetts Concern have been documented to have suffered a decline that could threaten the species if allowed to continue unchecked or have Based on records in Natural Heritage Database such a restricted distribution or specialized habitat requirement that Please allow the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program to continue to conserve the biodiversity of Massachusetts with a contribution for ‘endangered wildlife conservation' on your state income tax form as these donations comprise a significant portion of our operating budget. Flowers or Fruit Present
it could easily become threatened within Massachusetts. There are 73 current stations (discovered or verified since 1980) and 18 historical stations (unverified since 1979) in Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec the Commonwealth. Nationwide, ginseng is considered to be a locally threatened species because of over-harvesting, primarily for export to China. States where the plant is considered to be rare include Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Indiana, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In an effort to stabilize populations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has required permits for interstate commerce and overseas export. These permits are limited to states which demonstrate adequate monitoring programs. The extent of the harvest in Massachusetts in not known. Ginseng is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Management recommendations: In general,
populations of ginseng are threatened because of harvesting
of the root and habitat destruction. The rich woods habitat of
ginseng is not wide spread in Massachusetts, so there are
limited areas available for the species to do well and the
fragmented condition of the forest habitat may interfere with
natural reestablishment in heavily harvested or disturbed
areas. Ginseng can also be killed by inadvertent trampling,
sometimes by its admirers looking at the spring flora of the
rich woods habitat or hikers. Since it often grows in areas of
loose rock, such as on talus slopes, it can easily be dislodged.
To protect plants from both trampling and collecting, access
to the areas where it grows should be impeded by rerouting
paths or, possibly, the use of fencing. Because it is a
collected plant, locations of sites should not be publicized.
Heavy grazing by cattle has also resulted in the extirpations
of local populations. Ginseng reproduces very rarely by
fragmentation of the rhizome; therefore, plants should not be
disturbed during flowering and fruit set, and the seeds left on
the plant. One study found that a decimated population was
able to recover after several years--apparently through the
persistence of viable seeds in the soil. The surrounding forest
community had not been disturbed, which is thought to have
contributed to the recovery. Because ginseng does not grow
in open sun, forest canopies should be left undisturbed.
Range: Ginseng is distributed in mesic woodlands
throughout eastern North America, from southern Ontario
and Quebec to Manitoba and Minnesota, south to northern
Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Colonies are usually
small, but very rarely colonies may be as large as 200
individuals. In Massachusetts, they are generally between 5
and 20 individuals.
Please allow the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program to continue to conserve the biodiversity of Massachusetts with a contribution for ‘endangered wildlife conservation' on your state income tax form as these donations comprise a significant portion of our operating budget.

Source: http://www.townofbecket.org/Public_Documents/BecketMA_OpenRecPlan/panexquinquefolius.pdf

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