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Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng)
Wallace, George

Panax quinquefolius

Panax quinquefolius L.

American Ginseng, Wild Ginseng

Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)


USDA Symbol: paqu

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

An umbel of small, greenish-white or yellow-green, fragrant flowers rising from a whorl of 3 large, palmately compound leaves. The flowers of this species smell like those of Lily-of-the-valley. It is classified as a threatened species in 31 eastern states. The genus name is from the Greek panakeia (“panacea” or “cure-all”). The common name, a corruption of the Chinese Jin-chen (“man-like”), refers to the resemblance of the roots to a human body.


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario east to Quebec, south to Georgia, west to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and north to South Dakota and Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Cool moist woods.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Organic, Humus Enriched


Use Other: The root of this species is highly prized by the Chinese as an alleged aphrodisiac and heart stimulant. It is also in demand here as a tonic, which has resulted in overcollection, so that the plant is now considered rare. (Niering)
Attracts: Birds

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.6 - Saving Trees and Plants at New Center Site a Big Job, Director's Report, Wildflo...
Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.3 - Hummingbird Gardening, Blooms Beget Butterflies, Butterflies and Hummingbirds Fo...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Panax quinquefolius in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Panax quinquefolius in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Panax quinquefolius


Record Modified: 2023-05-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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