Ginseng Certification Program
The State of Vermont regulates the harvesting of wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). This includes licensing of collectors and dealers in Vermont wild ginseng, including wild-simulated ginseng, certification of roots prior to sale, and monitoring the overall health of Vermont's wild ginseng population. Our program is conducted in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service program, in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Without the Vermont program, harvesting and trade in wild ginseng would be prohibited in Vermont.
Important facts about collecting wild American Ginseng in Vermont:
- New rules concerning the collection and sale of Vermont ginseng went into effect on December 25, 2014.
- A Ginseng Collector’s Permit is required to collect wild ginseng in Vermont. Collectors must obtain permission to collect wild ginseng on property owned by persons other than themselves.
- Collection of wild ginseng on State or Federal lands in Vermont is not permitted.
- A Ginseng Dealer’s Permit is required to buy wild or cultivated ginseng collected in Vermont, and to sell certified ginseng to other ginseng buyers. Collectors exporting or selling wild and wild simulated ginseng to entities other than Vermont Ginseng Dealers are also required to obtain a Ginseng Dealer's Permit.
- Collector and dealer permits are issued for three years, inclusive of the year issued.
- The Vermont annual harvest season for wild ginseng is from September 1 to October 31. Cultivated ginseng may be harvested and certified at any time of the year.
- Dried wild ginseng collected during the season must be inspected and certified by March 31 of the following year.
- Fresh ginseng ('green' ginseng) must be certified on or before December 31 of the year of harvest.
- Collection of wild ginseng that has green, unripe seeds or fewer than three 5-leaf prongs is prohibited.
- Wild ginseng with red (ripe) seeds may be collected, but the seeds must be planted in the immediate vicinity at the time of collection.
- Vermont wild ginseng must be a minimum of ten years old for certification, even though Federal law requires wild ginseng roots be a minimum of five years old, as determined by counting scars on the neck.
- Necks must be present to certify wild ginseng roots for sale or export.
- Wild ginseng growing on property owned by the collector may be collected at seven years of age, subject to specific requirements and by prior arrangement with the Agency of Agriculture.