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Ginseng Plant

The purpose of Indiana’s ginseng program (Public Law 107 (IC 14-31-3) and Ginseng Rule (312 IAC 19) is to ensure a healthy population for the future. The harvest season was instituted to encourage replanting of the seeds when they are ripe and insure that only mature plants are taken. Registration of dealers and certification of ginseng is required in order to monitor the health of the population. The selling season was established for this purpose. Ginseng that is bought for resale must be certified by a Indiana Conservation Officer. By monitoring reports from dealers it is easier to determine if ginseng is declining and needs further protection.


Ginseng season opened Sept. 1.


Sept. 1 - Dec. 31 of current year. Harvesters can legally dig wild ginseng. Harvesters do not need a license to dig ginseng nor sell ginseng to a licensed dealer.


Sept. 1 of current year to March 31 of next year. Dealers can legally purchase ginseng from harvesters. When reselling ginseng purchased directly from harvesters, the dealer must fill out a form certifying the ginseng’s origin and weight. A copy of the certification must accompany the ginseng when it is shipped.

Ginseng Plant with Root

Know the Law

  1. It is illegal to harvest wild ginseng out of season. A Class A misdemeanor.
  2. To harvest legally, a ginseng plant must have: at least 3 prongs and a flowering or fruiting stalk, or at least 4 internodes on the rhizome. To harvest plants not meeting these criteria is a Class B infraction.
  3. It is required that mature fruits and any seeds on the harvested ginseng be planted in the vicinity where the plant was dug and in a manner that encourages germination.
  4. It is required that the entire stalk and leaves be retained with the plant until it is taken to the harvester’s residence or place of business, unless the root has at least 4 internodes on the rhizome.
  5. It is illegal to sell or remove mature fruits and seeds from the vicinity where the ginseng was taken.
  6. It is illegal to buy, sell, or possess any ginseng out of season without written authorization from the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Law Enforcement. A Class B misdemeanor.
  7. It is illegal to buy uncertified ginseng for resale without an Indiana Ginseng Dealer’s License. A Class B misdemeanor.
  8. Only certified ginseng can be sold to a buyer in another state. To export uncertified ginseng is a Class A misdemeanor.
  9. Harvest ginseng only where it is permitted—digging on State property is not allowed; digging on private property without permission is theft; digging on other properties may require a permit.
  10. Anyone violating these rules will be prosecuted.