West Virginia’s 2018 ginseng season opened this month, along with a new regulation.

According to the West Virginia Division of Forestry, the new law this season requires all diggers to provide a government-issued photo identification to sell their ginseng to a registered dealer. The WV Division of Forestry stated that fines for violating this law shall be no less than $500 up to $1,000 for a first offense, and $1,000 and not more than $2,000 for multiple offenses. 

West Virginia’s 2018 ginseng season officially opened on Saturday, September 1, and continues through Friday, November 30.

Ginseng is a perennial herb that grows slowly with seeds that take two years to germinate. According to the WV Division of Forestry, by law, only ginseng plants plants with three or more prongs are old enough to harvest. Ginseng diggers are required by law to replant the seeds from the parent plant in the spot where they harvested it to help continue the species. Additionally, the poaching of ginseng is illegal, and ginseng digging is not permitted in State Forests, State Parks, or other state-owned public lands. Ginseng diggers are also required to have written permission to dig from a private property.

The WV Division of Forestry says that diggers have until March 31 to sell ginseng to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer, or have roots weight-receipted at one of the WV Division of Forestry weigh stations. A weight receipt is a record of the ginseng dug during the current year, and the individual who wants to hold it over to the next digging/buying season.

Ginseng grows throughout West Virginia and can be found in all 55 counties. For more information on state and federal laws regulating the harvesting and selling of ginseng, call the West Virginia Division of Forestry at 304-558-2788 or visit their website here.