Shortened harvesting season to sustain ginseng in PA

Written by Matt Paul and Radio Pennsylvania | Aug 18, 2013 4:16 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The ginseng harvesting season in Pennsylvania is being shortened.

The state's Bureau of Forestry is moving the start date back from August to September.

Classified as a vulnerable plant, ginseng is protected under the state's Wild Resource Conservation Act. Chris Firestone, the bureau's wild plant program manager, says the change will help ensure the plant’s sustainability.

"We want to make sure that the berries are red on it so that you can take the berries off and replant them," Firestone says, "and in many parts of the state they're not red by our old season. So by September first most of the berries should be red."

Ginseng root is sought after for its medicinal qualities and Firestone says roughly 700 known harvesters are active in the commonwealth.

The harvesting season will run through November. Firestone says the new start date puts Pennsylvania in line with surrounding states.

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