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Discussion Starter #3
I tried but it is so hard to tell. Anyone know for sure? I appreciate all the help but I am just skeptical it being Ginseng but really hope it is.
 

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the root kinda looks like ginseng but the leaves dont. I don't hunt ginseng but have seen it many of times and know people who do. I dont think it is but someone else might say otherwise.
 

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I have been digging ginseng for 20+ years, and the roots are definitely ginseng. The leaves are from something different- they are not ginseng leaves. Don't get caught with the roots- there is a defined hunting season requiring a license in Illinois. Very steep fines......
 

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Actually I took them into a Biology teacher. He is planting them back to let them flower out again. The leaves pictures were the leaves on the roots. He also believes they are not Ginseng but possibly Dock. Once they grow back out maybe we will know something for sure, but with those leaves it does not look like Ginseng.
 

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Definatly not ginseng. Dock or horseradish is more likley. and boncosang is right. here in Wv. its $500 fine per root if caught digging seng out of season.
 

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I've seen enough ginseng plants in the woods and have dug up enough ginseng roots to know that this is definitely not ginseng.

What you have here is a pokeweed root. The leaves you show are typical of the first leaves put out by the plant (rounded at the ends). As the stalk continues to grow, the additional leaves that form will be pointed at the end. When you find pokeweed, you usually find a whole patch of it. When you dug up this root, there was probably an old bleached out stalk coming out of the top (remains of last years’ growth). You probably noticed a lot of old bleached out stalks around the area (other pokeweed plants). These stalks can range from 3 feet to 6 feet tall, or taller.

There needs to be a word of caution. This is a toxic plant. It contains 3 different toxins, all of which are present in all parts of the plant. The root is the most toxic, then the stem and leaves, and finally the berries that ripen in late summer. The young shoots (around 7 inches tall) can be eaten if prepared properly. You can cut them into 1 to 2 inch long pieces and then you must boil these in water for about 10 minutes. You then drain them, disposing of the liquid. Put in fresh water and boil another 10 minutes. Drain again, add butter, salt and pepper and eat. The boiling process reduces the toxins to a level that will not be harmful. They are nutritious and also taste good. There is no way the root can be prepared for consumption. It is too toxic. The seeds in the berries also contain a high level of the toxins.
 
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