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John T.A. Proctor, Dean Louttit and John M. Follett

Freshly harvested, immature (green) seeds of north american ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) were stratified for 12 months either traditionally in buried wooden boxes outdoors, or in plastic pails in a controlled environment room [3 ± 0.2 °C (37.4 ± 0.11 °F)], 85% ± 5% relative humidity) for about 9 months followed by about 3 months at 20 ± 2 °C (69.8 ± 1.1 °F). Embryo growth in Stage II (mid-May to late August when direct seeded) was more rapid [0.016 versus 0.009 mm·d-1 (0.00062 versus 0.00035 inches/day)] under controlled-temperature conditions. Seedling emergence rate did not vary between treatments. Root dry weight (economic yield) was similar for seedling, 2, 3, and 4-year-old plants whether grown from traditionally or controlled-temperature stratified seed. Controlled-temperature stratification of north american ginseng seed is an acceptable alternative to traditional outdoor, in-ground stratification.

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John T.A. Proctor, David C. Percival and Dean Louttit

Manual removal of inflorescences from mature (3- and 4-year-old) American ginseng plants (Panax quinquefolium L.) at commercial timing (early July, ≈25% flowers open) increased root yield at harvest. Consecutive inflorescence removal for 2 years (third and fourth) increased yield 55.6%. Inflorescence removal in 4-year-old plants increased yield by 34.7% compared with 26.1% in 3-year-old plants. Analysis showed that the largest portion of roots (≈40%) was in the medium category (10-20 g), and inflorescence removal did not influence root size distribution. Root yield for 3-year-old plants increased quadratically with plant density, with plants lacking inflorescences having an estimated yield increase of 25%. Maximum yields of 2.4 kg·m-2 for deflowered plants were achieved at a plant density of 170 plants/m2. To maximize ginseng root yield, all plants except those needed to provide seed for future plantings should have inflorescences removed.