Wild Ginseng Plant Identification

Wild ginseng root is often used in natural medicine.
Wild ginseng root is often used in natural medicine. (Image: Blue Jean Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Wild ginseng is now a rare find in the United States, mainly due to over harvesting and destruction of woodlands. Identifying this plant plays an important role in making sure it is protected in its natural habitat.

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Ginseng leaves are medium to dark green in color. The edges are serrated or saw-toothed with a pointed tip. There are three leaves arranged in a group at the top of the plant's stem with two smaller leaves slightly below them, one on each side of the stem.


The flowers of a ginseng plant appear in June or July and normally last around six weeks. These light green flowers consist of multiple tiny buds. They sprout up between two or more leaf clusters.


Ginseng flowers give way to berries, found on this plant in late summer to early fall. Located in tight clusters in the center of the leaves, the initially-green berries later turn a bright red color.


Wild ginseng grows in the eastern United States and south-central Canada in shaded areas of native hardwood forests.


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