HAGERSTOWN — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is banning the harvesting of wild ginseng on state lands.
Biologist Jonathan McKnight said Friday that the prohibition takes effect Sept. 1, the start of the ginseng season. It doesn’t apply to ginseng found on private land.
A state-funded study last year found that the plant with supposed medicinal properties has nearly disappeared from Maryland except in the far western mountains.
Fifteen of the 34 states with native ginseng prohibit harvesting altogether. McKnight says none of the states surrounding Maryland allows ginseng hunting on state land.
The Maryland Agriculture Department licenses ginseng diggers. Program manager Robert Trumbule says the state should promote commercial cultivation of ginseng to ensure a reliable supply.