Tennessee State Ginseng Laws

Only plants with three (3) or more leaves (prongs) and red ripe berries should be harvested. These are plants at least five (5) years old and reproductively mature. Mature plants will produce a cluster of green flowers which will produce the ripe berries after fertilization. Collect only during the Harvest Season September 1 to December 31. This accomplishes two things:

  1. the plant has time to produce fruit and set seed,
  2. the ginseng root has time to reach a marketable size. Ginseng roots are heaviest in the fall based on the plant’s biology and physiology, so it makes sense to harvest roots late in the fall. Also, it takes just as much time to dig a small root as it does a large root, so spend time wisely by harvesting only mature profitable roots.

To insure harvestable populations for future generations, it is important that all ripe berries and seeds be planted in the approximate location of the parent plant after harvesting. Do not simply scatter the seeds on the ground as they will be eaten by rodents or birds. The seeds require about 18 months dormancy and must remain moist in order to germinate. Summer droughts can kill the seeds if they are not protected under leaves.

– See more at: http://www.tn.gov/environment/article/na-american-ginseng-in-tennessee#sthash.FxobQSZS.dpuf

– Harvest season is from September 1 to December 31
– Only Ginseng plants with 3 leaves, or prongs, and ripe red berries may be harvested
– Root must be at least 5 years old, with 5 growth scars on the root neck
– Plant all red berries in the same approximate location as the harvested plant
– No permit is required to harvest wild Ginseng during the appropriate season; however, one MUST have landowner permission to be on the property to harvest wild OR cultivated Ginseng.  Ginseng collectors may harvest Ginseng on their own land.
– Ginseng buying season:
Fresh Ginseng buying Season is from September 1-March 31
Dry Ginseng buying season is from September 15-March 31
– To purchase Ginseng for resale, or to transport Ginseng across a state line, one MUST have a state Ginseng Dealer Permit.
– Any Ginseng transported across state lines MUST be certified by the state. Moving Ginseng across state lines without certification is a violation of Federal law.

Contact with further questions:
Andrea Bishop
phone: (615) 741-9141
email: andrea.bishop@tn.gov

All information courtesy of TN Department of Environmental Conservation.

For more information about Tennessee Ginseng laws, check out the Tennessee DEC Ginseng page 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.