This plant is prized for its medicinal benefits and can be found throughout the midwestern and eastern woodlands of North America. When you can identify this plant, please leave a comment with its common name, scientific name and any personal story you care to share.
ANSWER (subsequently added to this post to facilitate the “search” function for these images): American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Hello, This wonderful & distinctive plant found on the rich, shaded forest floor is Panax quinquefolius, or American Ginseng. It is now endangered in Ontario, Canada, where I live because of illegal harvesting & deforestation. Disease can also be transmitted by non-native Oriental Ginseng which may have been planted nearby. It closely resembles the native vine, Virginia Creeper, which grows in the same habitat. One way to distinguish the two is that mature V. Creeper plants are connected by vine runners near, or on the surface of the soil. I keep hoping to someday see some American Ginseng in the wild! Thanks, Tammy
Tammy, you are absolutely correct in naming this as American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). I, too, have confused it with Virginia creeper in the past. I plan to do a blog post to compare American ginseng with Virginia creeper — to help all of us to be less confused about them!
someone beat you to it. I have been seeing this in Kansas and wondering what it is. http://identifythatplant.com/virginia-creeper-and-ginseng/
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