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Distribution and Abundance of Hydrastis canadensis L. (Ranunculaceae) and Panax quinquefolius L. (Araliaceae) in the Central Appalachian Region
James B. McGraw, Suzanne M. Sanders and Martha Van der Voort
The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
Vol. 130, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 2003), pp. 62-69
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3557530
Page Count: 8
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As demand for goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) intensifies due to the herbal plant trade, basic information about distribution and abundance is needed to inform management strategies. We surveyed 16 sites focusing on West Virginia, but including nearby sites in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland to determine H. canadensis and P. quinquefolius presence and abundance. In total we surveyed 29.32 ha over two summers in a wide range of aspects, elevations, management regimes and forest cover types. So few patches of goldenseal were encountered that we were unable to detect statistically significant effects of elevation, aspect, land use or vegetation on either encounter probability or density. Ginseng was more frequently encountered than goldenseal. The probability of encountering ginseng increased with elevation. Overall, ginseng was not more frequent or abundant on north-facing 'cove' forests. A significant elevation x aspect interaction was found, whereby ginseng was most abundant on west-facing slopes at low elevation, but more abundant on east-facing slopes at middle elevations. Extrapolations of ginseng densities to the state of West Virginia suggest that the species is not rare in the typical sense. Instead, it is widespread, but scarce everywhere it is found. Harvest rates are estimated to be ca. 5% of the natural ginseng population annually. Understanding basic ecological relationships and management of these species is made difficult by the widespread, dispersed nature of individuals, patches and populations and the complex interaction with human harvesters.
The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society © 2003 Torrey Botanical Society