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American Ginseng

GRIPP American Ginseng Panax quinquefolius

Species name

Panax quinquefolius L.

Conservation Status in Canada

According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), this species was listed as threatened in 1988, in 1999 and 2000 the species was listed as endangered. It is also listed as schedule 1 and threatened under the Species At Risk Act (SARA).

Distribution and Habitat

In Canada American Ginseng can be found growing in southwestern Quebec and southern Ontario. While the species is considered to be quite sparse in most of its range, high concentrations have been observed in certain parts along the Niagara Escarpment and eastern edge of the Precambrian shield in Ontario, as well as in Monteregian, south Montreal. In the United States, American ginseng can be found in eastern parts and as far West as Minnesota, moving south to Louisiana and Georgia.

Why This Species Matters

American ginseng is a highly valued medicinal crop around the world, most notably for its use to treat the common cold. Although harvesting and export of wild American Ginseng is not permitted in both Ontario and Quebec, illegal harvesting of roots has been observed for at least 50% and 15% of populations respectively.

  • Wild-harvesting
  • Habitat loss due to industrial, urban and agricultural expansion
  • Invasive species
  • Herbivory and disease
What is GRIPP doing?

Protocols to effectively cryopreserve and propagate plants in vitro have recently been developed by GRIPP researchers. Plans are now underway to redistribute plants back into their native range.

  1. Uchendu EE, Brown DCW, Saxena PK. (2011). Cryopreservation of Panax quinquefolius. Cryo Letters. 32:463-472.
  2. Uchendu EE, Paliyath G, Brown DCW, Saxena PK. (2011). In vitro propagation of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). In Vitro Cell Dev. Biol.-Plant. 47: 710-718.
  3. Wang X, Proctor JTA, Kakuda Y, KrishnaRaj S, Saxena PK. (1999). Ginsenosides in American Ginseng: Comparison of in vitro derived and field-grown plant tissues. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 6(3):1-10.
  4. Wang X, Proctor JTA, KrishnaRaj S, Saxena PK, Sullivan JA. (1999). Rapid somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration in American Ginseng: Effects of auxins and explants. Journal of Ginseng Research 23(2):1-16.
Read a full report on the conservation status of this species.
Read a full report on the recovery strategy for this species.