Ontario Wildflowers website

Ginseng
Panax quinquefolius

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) Other common names: Five-leaved Ginseng

Other scientific names: Aralia quinquefolia, Ginseng quinquefolium

French names: Ginseng cinq folioles

Family: Ginseng Family (Araliaceae)

Similar species:
  •   Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) - Much smaller overall; white flowers.

  •   Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) - The leaves look similar and it also grows in the woods.


Flowers: Spring;  Green/Brown;  5 parts (petals)

Leaves: Compound, Toothed

Habitat: Forests

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 286   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status:   S-Rank: S3  G-Rank: G4
Very rare due to poaching. This is an endangered species in Ontario, almost poached to extirpation, and cannnot be dug up or otherwise disturbed.


Notes: If you find Ginseng please do not tell others where it is. Word of its location may spread and it will very likely get poached by people who want to sell it.

Photographs: 201 photographs available, of which 11 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng is a relatively small woodland plant. This one has ripening berries.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng flowers. They are tiny and green.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Closeup of flowers and flower buds.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Here the flower cluster is largely finished flowering and fruit is developing.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

An entire Ginseng plant. Note there are usually five leaflets, except in young plants.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ripening berries, with a hand for scale.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Photograph by Kim Sayers

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Another entire Ginseng plant.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

This is a location where poachers have illegally dug up Ginseng plants. As Ginseng is regarded as an effective medicinal plant, it is in high demand.

At this location there were a few very young Ginseng plants scattered around the edge, which had apparently been overlooked by the poachers.


Range map for Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)