This is what a 40 year old Wild American Ginseng root looks like! This amazing root has 37+ bud scars, which means it is at least 37 years old, though it is very likely to be over 50 or more years old.
There is a interesting phenomenon that is common with Wild American Ginseng that could be called a ‘cumulative dormancy’ factor. This is common with almost all wild ginseng roots, especially after a certain age. This means that the number of ‘bud scars’ on the neck of a ginseng root is only a estimate of the minimum age of the root because the plant does not always produce a top every year. Wild American Ginseng often ‘skips’ years, for various reasons.
Wild ginseng growing in a challenging environment can often sustain damage to the growing top of the plant in many ways. Weather changes, animal browsing or even just any damage during the extremely tender phase of growing, can cause ginseng to disappear without a trace for the rest of the year, however ginseng has a mysterious habit disappearing for many years at a time for unknown reasons. We have personally seen an older ginseng plant skip 3 consecutive years before producing a top again!