I just posted this in the wrong forum, but maybe I should put it here anyway. Is there a look alike for ginseng? I was taking some pics today and found some of these. Is this ginseng or something else?
That is "something else"-- It looks like a relative to Virginia Creeper. Do you know if it has a flower, or larger versions nearby? CAn you get a shot of how it is coming out of the ground? Knowing the size of the leaf is important, as well-- and that is a 5 leaflet plant-- that is not 5 leaves in each grouping.
Does look like Virginia creeper but you might consider one of the Rubus species that have 5 leaflets per blade. They are coming up now. Any minute prickles on the petiole?
Nope, no pricklies. I googled up some photos of virginia creeper and found a pic of several different types all in one photo. This thing did closely resemble one of them. They are really new leaves and most haven't completely unfolded yet. I guess one sure fire way to ID it would be to go back in a few weeks to see if any new growth has started. Even if it didn't turn out to be american ginseng, the trip wasn't wasted. I found oodles of gooseberry and wild strawberry and some other stuff I'm still trying to ID.
I will search for the species you mentioned though. I would dig one up to see the root structure but I only found three in eight acres of pines.
it's too early to see ginseng. it's easier to find in the autumn when it has red berries. just as an fyi, plant id is a whole lot easier when plants are in bloom.
Not only is it easier--but when putting together an herbarium, the flower is practilcally required! Nothing like a very tough botany instructor to get THAT through ones head!
good photos are great when trying to ID a plant, but they are pretty useless without including the basic things like measurements, habitat type, flower type, textures, etc. I have a friend in another state that continually sends me photos to ID plants from-- an by now, she has learned to include the answers to the questions I always ask her-- AND, she includes in the photo, a reference object for scale purposes--nickles and Quarters are great--I am trying to convince her to carry along a 6 inch ruler to help with height! her "knee high" is a lot shorter than MINE!
That is creeper. Probably has a woody, viny, stem with individual leaf stems coming off the main stem irregularly. It is probably the most commonly mistaken for ginseng plant out there, followed by wild sarsaparilla and black cohosh. Virginia Creeper likes more light than 'seng, W. sarsaparilla lives in too rocky, acidic and well-drained areas for it. If you have black cohosh you are on the right track.
I could give a plant treasure hunt that would go something like this, for this area. Start up a mountain looking for blue cohosh, when you find it go a little upslope and look for black cohosh (rattleweed). If you hit white snakeroot, (or cottontop) go back down. If you are seeing Jack in the Pulpit, Black Cohosh, and Bloodroot all in the same area you have at least got the right soil type for ginseng. That doesn't mean you will find it or not find it, just that you have found a place that it likes.
I usually spot it by color, I can find it in mid april around here, I can spot it a hundred yards away, but I was trained by some of the best. Of course the people I learned from are also the reason there is not much around! If you wait till fall and look for red berries, jack in the pulpit will walk you to death, learn the leaf color in every season you can't go wrong. Even when frost turns it yellow it has a slightly different shade than anything else. Maybe I will post some pics on here some time.
I agree as well, that is VA creeper. I grew up calling it woodbine. Barnbilder is right as well, Ginseng really doesnt look like woodbine at all once you learn the differences, but before you learn them I reckon they look pretty similar.