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Photo, Print, Drawing Close-up of ginseng

About this Item


  • Close-up of ginseng


  • Eiler, Lyntha Scott (Photographer)

Created / Published

  • October 26, 1995


  • -  Fall
  • -  Commercial gatherings
  • -  Ginseng (Panax quinquefolia)
  • -  Harvesting of fruits and vegetables
  • -  October
  • -  Randy's Recycling
  • -  Peytona
  • -  Photographs
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  West Virginia -- Boone County -- Peytona


  • Photographs
  • Ethnography


  • -  People who harvest wild botanicals from the woods can sell their wares to local brokers like Randy Halstead, the proprietor of Randy's Recycling in Peytona, West Virginia. Halstead annually brokers hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wild herbs (leaves, bark, and roots) from the mountains, including bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictoides), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), virginia snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum?), indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum), sassafrass (Sassafras albidum), sumac (Rhus vernix?) , witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and wild yam (Dioscorea villosa). Halstead also recycles non-ferrous scrap metals, including aluminum, copper, and brass. But the bulk of his income is generated by ginseng (Panax quinquefolia). As a buyer of ginseng, Halstead can tell at a glance whether the roots are wild ginseng (worth hundreds of dollars a pound, dried), or "tame seng" (cultivated and worth around $30 per pound at the time of the interview). He can also tell from the shape of the root which counties in West Virginia the root came from, because soil differences affect the root's ability to grow, causing some to be elongated, others to be "bulby," as Halstead put it. The prized "stress rings" on a root are produced through soil density, which wrinkles the root's outer membrane.


  • 35 mm Color Slide

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1999/008: CRF-LE-C029-12

Source Collection

  • Coal River Folklife Collection (AFC 1999/008)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • image

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit line

Coal River Folklife Project collection (AFC 1999/008), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Eiler, Lyntha Scott. Close-Up of Ginseng. West Virginia Peytona Boone County, 1995. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Eiler, L. S. (1995) Close-Up of Ginseng. West Virginia Peytona Boone County, 1995. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Eiler, Lyntha Scott. Close-Up of Ginseng. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.