Identifying a Ginseng Plant


The Ginseng plant has been used in Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and is widely sought after in both the Eastern and Western worlds. Its name translates to "Man Plant" since its roots often resemble a human-like form. When seeking out ginseng, note that it grows mostly on slopes of ravines and in shaded, mountainous locations. Ginseng is an alternative to some medications and has been thought to reduce cholesterol and even have preventive qualities against cancer.

Step 1

Look at the leaf color and formation. Ginseng has five green leaves that meet at a single point on each stem.

Step 2

Look for fruit growing on the stems. Ginseng produces little red berries that come in clusters of three to 10 per bunch.

Step 3

Dig around the base of the plant with your hands or a garden shovel to see the root. Ginseng root typically has a light brown color with a surface texture similar to a carrot.

Step 4

Pull the root out of the ground. Ginseng root is forked with appendages sticking out of it. It often has a shape similar to a human body with two arms near the top and two legs near the bottom, but it can have many more appendages than this.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shovel


  • UMN: Identifying Ginseng
Keywords: identify ginseng, ginseng root characteristics, determine ginseng root

About this Author

Kenneth Coppens is a part-time freelance writer and has been for one year. He currently writes for Demand Studios, eHow, Associated Content and is the Indianapolis Craft Beer Expert for Examiner.