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Michigan Ginseng Certification Program

One of the lesser known, but very interesting small agricultural crops grown in Michigan for export is American ginseng, Panex quinquefolius L.

Michigan's Ginseng Certification Program was established to promote the production and harvest of cultivated ginseng. Wild ginseng is rarely found in Michigan and is a threatened (legally protected) plant. Federally, wild ginseng is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Click here for Ginseng Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the difference between Wild and Cultivated Ginseng?

  • Cultivated ginseng is ginseng growing or grown in managed beds under artificial or natural shade and cultivated according to recognized horticulture practices.
  • Wild ginseng is ginseng growing or grown in an uncultivated state or harvested from its natural habitat. Wild ginseng includes ginseng that was introduced to its natural habitat by sowing ginseng seed or transplanting ginseng plants from other areas and then performing no standard cultivation practices.

What does Ginseng Look Like?

  1. Photo: Ginseng Plant
  2. Photo: Ginseng Root
  3. Photo: Ginseng Farm

Ginseng Look-a-like Plants

  1. Photo: Wild Sarsaparilla
  2. Photo: Bunchberry
  3. Photo: Jack-in-the-pulpit

The Michigan Ginseng Act

Act 184 of 1994 the Michigan Ginseng Act regulates the harvest, sale, and distribution of American ginseng grown in Michigan. Act 184 makes it unlawful to take American ginseng from the wild without a permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Currently, the MDNR is not issuing any permits to harvest wild ginseng. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPMD) administers the state ginseng certification program.

Michigan Ginseng Licenses

The Michigan Ginseng Act authorizes MDARD to issue both the Michigan Ginseng Grower's License and the Michigan Ginseng Dealer's License.

  • A Michigan Ginseng Grower's Application is required only in the year a ginseng grower harvests and distributes the harvested ginseng roots. The license runs from August 15 to August 14 of the following year and costs $25.
  • A Michigan Ginseng Dealer's Application authorizes the dealer to buy, collect, or otherwise acquire ginseng roots for resale or export from the State of Michigan. The license expires annually on August 14th and costs $100.

Request more information about Michigan Ginseng Licenses

Certifying Cultivated Ginseng for Sale

After the fall harvest is completed, a PPPMD inspector will conduct an inspection of the ginseng roots and will supply the grower with a Michigan Ginseng Inspection Certificate. This certificate is a legal document that establishes the origin, weight, condition and source of the ginseng roots and also certifies that the ginseng was harvested legally within the State of Michigan, and that all State and Federal laws pertaining to the harvest have been complied with.

Ginseng Links of Interest