DNR warns landowners of ginseng theftsThe theft and destruction of valuable wild ginseng growing in Wisconsin has alarmed wardens in the Department of Natural Resources to the point that a warning was issued last week for landowners and others to be on the lookout.
By: The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
The theft and destruction of valuable wild ginseng growing in Wisconsin has alarmed wardens in the Department of Natural Resources to the point that a warning was issued last week for landowners and others to be on the lookout.
Cody Adams, a DNR warden in Crawford County, said camouflage-dressed thieves illegally ripping the root from the ground leave little chance of its long-term survival.
"There's a right way and a wrong way to harvest it -- and a designated time," Adams said in a news release. "These thieves are pulling the root from the ground causing damage that could prevent the plant from surviving and regrowing."
The motive is money, and grabbing the slow-growing plants now before the ginseng season opens on Sept. 1.
Ginseng, which sold for $200 per pound last year, could rise to $500 per pound this year, the DNR said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ginseng has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural energy booster. A recent study showed the herb relieved fatigue in cancer patients. Animal studies also show ginseng helps with inflammation.
The DNR is reminding ginseng harvesters that they need a license (cost is $15.75) and permission from the landowner. Also, harvesters must immediately bury the plant's berries to ensure the plant grows back.
Wild ginseng plants can only be harvested if they possess three or more true leaves -- also called prongs -- and a flowering/fruiting stalk. The entire stalk, minus the mature fruits, must be kept with the plant until they are taken to the harvester's home or place of business.
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