Perennial. Rich woods. Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Georgia. Common in northern Ohio. April, May.
Tuberous, deep in the ground, pungent to the taste and not aromatic.
Four to eight inches high, bearing the flower-cluster at the summit.
Three, in a whorl upon the flower-stem, compound; leaflets three to five.
White, in a simple umbel, staminate, pistillate, or perfect.
Coherent with the ovary.
Petals five, oblong.
One; styles two to five, usually three.
Small, yellowish, berry-like drupes.
The Dwarf Ginseng usually blooms with the Har-binger-of-Spring in the open woods of northern Ohio, and is almost as delicate in appearance as its companion. Its small white flowers are clustered in feathery, fluffy balls about the size of a small marble, and each ball stands an inch or two above the whorl of compound leaves on the flower-scape. A sweet, nut-like tuber, about half an inch in diameter, lies deep in the earth and is somewhat difficult to obtain; the stem that leads to it is so slender and delicate that it breaks, and the little tuber is lost. This tuber is edible, and there is a tradition that the early settlers of this country used it for food, whence the name Groundnut. The fruit is a more or less perfect cluster of small, yellowish berries which ripen early, and the plant is soon overwhelmed by the rush of summer foliage.
Dwarf Ginseng. Panax trifolium