Four-Stem Wild Ginseng Discovered in Jiri Mountain
Unprecedented Find Sparks Excitement in Herbalist Community
In a groundbreaking discovery, a sprawling wild ginseng plant with an astonishing four stems emerging from a single root has been unearthed in the esteemed Jiri Mountain. While the exact value of this botanical marvel remains unconfirmed, experts estimate that a wild ginseng of similar weight usually commands a hefty price tag of approximately 120 million won.
According to the Korean Traditional Simmani Association, on the 16th of this month, Mr. A, a seasoned herbalist, stumbled upon this extraordinary wild ginseng at the base of Jiri Mountain in Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. Unlike its conventional counterparts, this exceptional specimen appeared as if multiple individual plants had somehow amalgamated into one, boasting an impressive four stems sprouting from its colossal root. Clocking in at a total weight of 334g, the root alone tipped the scale at a substantial 150g. Typically, a single serving of wild ginseng root weighs around 37.5g (1 nyang), easily providing enough sustenance for four people.
Typically, wild ginseng grows with just one stem, with occasional instances of two stems arising if the soil is particularly fertile or nutrient-rich. However, the emergence of four stems, as witnessed in this recent find, is a true rarity in the realm of wild ginseng. Experts believe that the substantial size of the root likely necessitated the development of four stems to facilitate optimal photosynthesis. Jeong Hyeong-beom, president of the Korean Traditional Simmani Association, remarked, “Over the past 25 years, we have encountered only three instances of such colossal wild ginseng finds, but this is the first with four stems.”
Determining the age of this unusual wild ginseng poses a significant challenge, as its bizarre formation makes age estimation nearly impossible without dissecting the entire plant. Nevertheless, other wild ginseng roots weighing around 150g have fetched appraised values of 120 million won. Moreover, the association explains that the appraised value of 100-year-old Cheonjong wild ginseng, which is twice as old as the regular variant, is approximately double that of its conventional counterpart.
The Korean Traditional Simmani Association categorizes wild ginseng into two primary types: pure species (Cheonjong wild ginseng) and non-pure species (Jeonjong wild ginseng, Camphor wild ginseng). However, for practical purposes, wild ginseng is often classified based on its growing conditions, such as n Cheonjong, Jongjong, wild wild ginseng, mountain wild ginseng, and so on. Cheonjong wild ginseng refers to plants that have naturally grown for over 50 years, having never been cultivated by humans. Jijong wild ginseng, on the other hand, denotes ginseng in the process of reverting to its original form, typically maturing over a period of 30 to 50 years. These plants often take root through the excretion of hemp seeds by birds or wild animals in the mountains, following a natural growth process.
The association has established stringent criteria to determine the quality of wild ginseng, which includes factors such as long tails, hardness, elasticity, clear signs of hair splitting, and the presence of 2 to 3 stems. The price of wild ginseng takes into account various aspects such as age, weight, shape, and the area of harvest. Remarkably, even among 100-year-old specimens, the value can range from a modest 3 million won to an astounding tenfold increase.
Four large stems of wild ginseng found in Jiri Mountain (pictured left) and the appearance at the time of collection. / Provided by the Korean Traditional Simmani Association
A very large wild ginseng with four stems growing from one root was discovered for the first time in Mt. Jiri. Although the exact appraised value has not been confirmed, regular wild ginseng of similar weight is said to be worth about 120 million won.
According to the Korean Traditional Simmani Association on the 18th, Mr. A, a herbalist in his 50s, discovered wild ginseng at the foot of Jiri Mountain in Sancheong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do on the 16th. This wild ginseng looked as if several pieces had been gathered into one, with as many as four stems rising from a huge root. The total weight was 334g, and the root weight alone was 150g. Generally, one serving of wild ginseng root is 37.5g (1 nyang), which is enough for 4 people to eat.
Wild ginseng usually grows one stem, but if the soil is good or rich in nutrients, two stems are often used. However, it is said to be very rare for wild ginseng to have four stems like the recently discovered wild ginseng. The explanation is that since this wild ginseng has large roots, it is likely that it has raised four stems to facilitate photosynthesis. Jeong Hyeong-beom, president of the Korean Traditional Simmani Association, said, “Over the past 25 years, very large wild ginseng has been discovered about three times, but this is the first wild ginseng with four stems.”
It is said that this wild ginseng is so strange that its age cannot be estimated, so it is difficult to measure its age unless the whole wild ginseng is dissected. However, for regular wild ginseng of similar weight (150g), the appraised value of 120 million is said to have been earned. The association explains that the appraised value of 100-year-old Cheonjong wild ginseng is about twice that of regular wild ginseng.
According to the society, wild ginseng is, in principle, divided into pure species (Cheonjong wild ginseng) and non-pure species (Jeonjong wild ginseng, Camphor wild ginseng), but it is generally classified ‘n Cheonjong, Jongjong, wild wild ginseng, mountain , etc. Cheonjong wild ginseng is wild ginseng that has been grown naturally for over 50 years and has never been cultivated by humans. Jijong wild ginseng is a type of wild ginseng that is in the process of returning to the original form of ginseng and has been grown for 30 to 50 years. Birds (pheasants, crows, etc.) or wild animals (wild boars, field mice, etc.) eat hemp seeds, excrete them in the mountains, take root in the ground, and go through a natural growth process.
The association classified wild ginseng as the best quality, with long tails, hardness, elasticity, clear signs of hair splitting, and 2 to 3 stems. The price of wild ginseng is based on a comprehensive consideration of age, weight, shape and harvesting area. For example, even the same 100-year-old wild ginseng can be worth 3 million won, or even 10 times that amount.
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