Illinois Ginseng Laws
Definition of Wild Ginseng
“Wild ginseng” as defined by law is the root of the ginseng plant (Panax quinquefolius) which is growing in or has been collected from its native habitat. Therefore, plants that have been transplanted into their native habitat are considered wild ginseng. “Cultivated ginseng,” means ginseng growing in tilled beds under shade of artificial structures or under natural shade.
Any person engaged in digging or harvesting wild ginseng in Illinois must have in their possession an Illinois ginseng harvester’s license. This license must be in their possession when selling ginseng. Harvester’s licenses cost $7.50. Licenses are available through DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the website at DNR Direct or by phone toll free @ 1-888-673-7648. For further questions, call the Commercial License/Permit Office at 217/785-3423.
Harvest and Buying Seasons
The season for harvesting wild ginseng in Illinois is from the first Saturday in September through November 1, annually. The season is the same statewide. Dealers may purchase wild ginseng only during the period from two weeks following the opening of the harvest season through the following March 1. Cultivated ginseng may be harvested by the grower and bought by the dealer at any time.
(note: the text in blue is new for 2006)
The season for harvesting wild ginseng in Illinois is from the first Saturday in September through November 1, annually. The season is the same statewide. The harvest of wild ginseng shall be limited to plants that are 10 years of age (4 leafed) or older. When harvesting wild ginseng, harvesters shall plant all of the seeds from the harvested plants in the vicinity of the parent plants in a manner that will encourage their germination and growth.
Wild Illinois ginseng can be sold only to licensed Illinois ginseng dealers. Illinois dealers licenses are not limited to Illinois residents, and some dealers in adjoining states are licensed to buy Illinois ginseng. Wild ginseng can be sold only during the period from two weeks after the opening of the harvest season through the following March 1. Possession of wild ginseng during the period of March 2nd until opening of the next harvest season is a violation of the law. The harvester of wild ginseng must provide the dealer with his or her name, address, harvester license number and the name of the county in which the ginseng was dug.
Ginseng harvested in other states can be sold to Illinois dealers provided it is certified by the state of origin as having been legally harvested in that state.
Theft of Ginseng
The digging and taking of ginseng from the property of another without permission of the landowner is a violation of the law.
License suspensions are now covered by the points system as outlined in Ad Rule 2530. (Under the points system, if an individual receives a citation and is found guilty he/she receives points against his/her license. Once a certain number of points have been accumulated the dealer will have his/her license suspended. The length of the suspension depends on the number of points that are accumulated.)
For additional information on the points system you can contact our office at 217/782-6431 or visit our website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Law Enforcement, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois, 62702-1271, Telephone (217) 782-6431. For license information, call (217) 785-3423.
All information courtesy of IL Department of Natural Resources
For more information, visit the Illinois DNR website here.
ALWAYS be sure you understand and follow all State and Federal Ginseng laws. This information is only a guide; be sure to check with your state for the most recent laws and regulations.