The harvest season for wild ginseng begins September 1 and ends December 31.
Wild ginseng is listed as a threatened plant under Virginia’s Endangered Plant and Insect Species Act. The Regulation of the Harvest and Purchase of Wild Ginseng was adopted by the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to ensure the continued viability of this threatened plant.
• Requirements for the harvest of wild ginseng:
Harvest season begins September 1 and ends December 31 of each year.
Harvest is prohibited January 1 through August 31. Ginseng may be harvested year-round from an individual’s own land.
• Wild ginseng may not be harvested if it:
Is younger than five years of age;
Has fewer than four stem scars present on its rhizome; or
Has fewer than three prongs.
A person who harvests wild ginseng must plant the seeds of the harvested plant at the harvest site at the time of harvest.
• Harvesting ginseng from someone else’s property:
Individuals intending to harvest from another’s land should obtain permission in writing from the landowner before removing any ginseng plants or plant parts, and also to carry the permission with them while searching or digging for ginseng.
• Harvesting ginseng from local, state or federal land:
It is illegal to harvest ginseng from state and federal lands in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Department of Conservation and Recreation does not allow harvesting of ginseng and related plants from their lands. The USDA Forest Service and the National Park Service does not allow harvest of ginseng on any federal land in Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of wild ginseng in Virginia.
This information is from https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-ginseng.shtml.