Plants and Animals
Panax quinquefolius Ginseng
Perennial forb of rich woods; leaves palmately compound with five leaflets; flowers greenish-white, borne in a cluster on a tall, erect stalk; fruit a red berry; plant seriously threatened by illegal collection of the root.
Status and Rank
US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G4 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from vulnerable to apparently secure
State Rank: S2S3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable
|County||Number of Occurrences||Year Last Observed|
Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.
Ginseng is found in rich shaded forests with loamy soils and heavy canopies. This species is highly threatened from collection of the root, commonly used in herbal remedies. Large colonies have completely vanished due to illegal poaching.
Natural Community Types
- Dry-mesic southern forest
- Floodplain forest
- Mesic northern forest
- Mesic southern forest
- Southern hardwood swamp
For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.
Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.
Sugar maple, Eastern hemlock, beech, yellow birch, basswood, white pine, red oak, white cedar, white birch, ironwood, American elm, balsam fir, white baneberry, red baneberry, wild leek, wild sarsaparilla, jack-in-the-pulpit, blue cohosh, enchanter's nightshade, bunchberry, blue-bead lily, Canada mayflower, Solomon's seal, false spikenard, twisted stalk, bellwort, star flower, nodding trillium, common trillium, maiden hair fern, lady fern, rattlesnake fern, spinulose woodfern, stiff clubmoss, shining clubmoss, ground pine, striped maple, leatherwood, fly honeysuckle, and maple-leaf viburnum.
Preserve intact forests, avoid clear cutting, and reduce or eliminate poaching. Minimize development and fragmentation. When possible, leave large tracts of unharvested forests and allow natural processes to operate unhindered.
Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.
Survey Period: From first week of June to fourth week of October
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- Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
- Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
- Voss, E. G. 1985. Michigan Flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae-Cornaceae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 724pp.