Ginseng Panax quinquefolium is a native plant that is highly valued for its medicinal qualities in the herb trade. The dollar value of these roots makes ginseng a prime target for poaching and a large number of these plants have been lost to poaching in recent years.
In an effort to combat the illegal digging of ginseng a marking system was developed by Jim Corbin of the North Carolina parks. The marking system is attached to the root with a permanent adhesive and incorporates a dye color specifically for Buffalo National River. The identification system also has a magnetic component in conjunction with a fluorescent light signature.
Ginseng roots marked with this system can be positively identified as having been removed from national park service lands. This system has been in use in eastern parks including Great Smokies and Blue Ridge and has been very useful in the apprehension and conviction of ginseng poachers.
The Plant Board of Arkansas has been notified that Buffalo National River will be using this system and they will advise buyers to be on the lookout for marked roots.