This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect perennial herbs, from globose or elongated aromatic roots, with a verticil of digitately compound leaves at the summit of the stem. Umbels solitary, terminal, simple. Flowers greenish or white, polygamous. Calyx-limb obscurely 5-toothed. Petals 5, spreading. Stamens 5, alternate with the petals. Styles 2 or 3. Fruit a small drupe-like somewhat flattened berry, enclosing 2 or 3 seeds. [Greek, all-healing.]
About 7 species, of eastern North America and Asia. Type species: Panax quinquefolium L.
Leaflets 5, ovate or obovate, stalked, acuminate.
Leaflets 3-5, oval, to oblanceolate, sessile, obtuse.
Panax quinquefolium L. Sp. Pl. 1058. 1753. Ginseng quinquefolium Wood, Bot. & Flor. 142. 1873.
Glabrous, 8'-15' high. Root fusiform, deep. Petioles 1 1/2-4' long; leaflets 5 (rarely 6-7), stalked, thin, ovate or obovate, acuminate, 2-5' long, 1'-2' wide, irregularly dentate; peduncle slender, 1'-2' long; umbel 6-20-flowered; pedicels 3"-6" long in fruit; flowers about 1" broad; styles usually 2; fruit somewhat didymous, bright crimson, 5" broad.
In rich woods, Quebec to Alabama, Ontario, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri. July-Aug. The plant has become rare in most parts of its range by the gathering of its roots for export to China, but is now extensively cultivated in artificial shade.
Panax trifolium L. Sp. Pl. 1059. 1753. Ginseng trifolium Wood, Bot. & Flor. 142. 1873.
Glabrous, 3'-8' high. Root globose, deep, about i' in diameter, pungent to the taste; petioles 1/2' - 2' long; leaflets 3-5, oval to oblanceolate, sessile, obtuse, usually narrowed at the base, l' - 1 1/2' long, 3"-8" wide, dentate or serrate; peduncles l'-2 1/2' long; pedicels 1"-1 1/2" long in fruit; flowers white, often monoecious, about 1" broad; styles usually 3; fruit mostly 3-angled (or when with 2 styles, didymous), yellow, about 2" broad.
In moist woods and thickets, Nova Scotia to Georgia, west to Ontario, Wisconsin and Iowa. April-June.