General Rules Regarding Ginseng
Ginseng digging season is September 1 through November 30
West Virginia Ginseng Season runs from September 1 to November 30 and diggers have until March 31 of each year to sell to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer or have roots weight-receipted at one of the Division of Forestry weigh stations.
Possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from April 1 through August 31 without a weight-receipt from the DOF.
State Laws Regulating Ginseng
West Virginia Code §19-1A-3a mandates that the Division of Forestry weigh and certify all ginseng roots dug in the state. Ginseng plants must be at least 5 years old or older and have at least 3 prongs before they can be harvested. Seeds from the plant must be planted on the site of the harvest. Ginseng must be certified before leaving the boundaries of the state. Only registered dealers can certify ginseng.
For a direct link to state statutory language for ginseng laws, criminal and civil penalties, please click here: http://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=19&art=1A§ion=3A#1A
Federal Laws Regulating Ginseng
Requirements for the export of wild ginseng out of the country are established by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. All ginseng plants must be at least 5 years of age and have at least 3 prongs before being harvested and therefore eligible for export.
Becoming a Registered Dealer
Anyone can become a registered dealer if the prerequisites are met.
- Obtain a West Virginia Business License from the State Tax Department
- If employing others, obtain a Workers’ Compensation Certificate of Insurance. For assistance, contact the Insurance Commission at 304-558-6279 ext. 1247,3200,1232 or 1229 or contact a Workers’ Compensation insurance company.
- Maintain a certificate in good standing or letter stating compliance from Unemployment Compensation. Contact the Status Determination Unit at 304-558-2677.
- Purchase a certified set of scales. Contact the Dept. of Weights and Measures at 304-722-0602 to certify your scale. The Division of Forestry submits a list of dealers to this department yearly.
- Apply for dealership with the WV Division of Forestry. Call 304-558-2788 for an application.
The links below provide information on dealers, weigh stations, and year to year statistics on ginseng.
- West Virginia Ginseng Dealers List
- DOF Ginseng Weigh Stations
- Wild Ginseng History
- Cultivated History
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has published a brochure for Dealers and Exports. It can be found here : Wild American Ginseng – Information for Dealers and Exporters
Interested in more ginseng info?
Or contact Robin Black with questions at 304-558-2788 ext. 51764.
If you see any individual or company violating the aforementioned laws, please report it to WV Forestry immediately. Thank you for keeping our forests safe!