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Ginseng Certification Program
The ginseng certification program (7 MRSA section 2225: Ginseng and Agriculture Rules Chapter 250:Certifying American Ginseng [DOC]) facilitates the export of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) while meeting the requirements of the Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
CITES is an international agreement that ensures the trade of certain wild plants and animals does not threaten the species survival.
As an appendix 2 CITES species, American ginseng is not currently threatened with extinction, but warrants special protection because the harvest of the desirable portion of the plant (the roots) destroys the plant. Regulations have been put in place to ensure the survival of future generations of American ginseng.
Cultivated ginseng means any part of a ginseng plant that was planted and grown in prepared beds.
Wild ginseng means ginseng that was not planted and is growing, living or found in a natural state.
Two types of ginseng license are available, a ginseng grower's license and a ginseng dealer's license. To apply for either license an application must be completed and submitted to the Department.
Those applying for a ginseng grower's license for the first time must have a site visit before planting any ginseng to ensure that the planting site is free of wild ginseng. You must include your contact information on the ginseng license application to ensure that inspectors can reach you to schedule a site visit. New license applications must be received and site visits must be conducted before September 1 of each year. Site visits for any new applications received after September 1 will be conducted after May 1 of the following year when ginseng plants are again actively growing.
Contact Horticulture or call 207-287-3891 with any questions regarding the ginseng licensing process or scheduling a site visit.
License Application [PDF]
Persons cultivating and growing ginseng for sale to out of state markets must apply for a grower's license.
Ginseng grower's license fees are $10. Licenses expire on December 31 of each year and must be renewed annually.
Persons buying cultivated or wild ginseng for resale must have a dealer's license.
Ginseng dealer's license fees are $25. Licenses expire on December 31 of each year and must be renewed annually.
When ready for export the Department weighs the harvested cultivated ginseng and issues an origin certificate. The origin certificate must accompany the shipment to its final sale.
The state only certifies cultivated ginseng and does not certify wild harvested ginseng. Harvest of wild ginseng is discouraged because naturally occuring populations in Maine are not large or vigorous enough to sustain harvesting.
Ginseng growers face many challenges including the length of time it can take to produce a harvestable crop, damage from slugs and deer and a lack of readily available information on growing and producing ginseng. In order to assist growers we've compiled a list of resources that may be useful in growing a succesful crop Ginseng Grower Resources
Contact the horticulture program at (207)287-3891 or email Horticulture with any questions regarding licensing, growing and selling ginseng.
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