Carl Linnaeus, 1753
American ginseng, Five Fingers, Tartar Root, Red Berry,
quinquefolium, Linnaeus, 1753 - by mistake (Latin was not
his strong side)?
quinquefolia Decne. & Planch. 1854.
quinquefolium Wood, A.W. 1871.
Panax americanus, Raf.
Panax americanus var. elatus, Raf.
Panax americanus var. obovatus, Raf.
Panax quinquefolius var. americanus, Raf.
Panax quinquefolius var. obovatus, Raf.
This member of the Araliaceae
family was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. It is found
in eastern North America, from
Quebec to Manitoba, south to northern Florida, Alabama, and
Oklahoma. It grows in a rich soil with some water and some sun. The caudex
will grow to four centimetres in four to five years. The plant gets
up to 50 centimetres high. The flowers are green with a little white,
the seeds bright red.
The name is found
in two ways of spelling. It has been debated whether the specific
epithet should end with the masculine "us" (P. quinquefolius)
or the neuter "um" (P. quinquefolium). While some argue for
the neuter ending as it appeared in the work of Linnaeus, according
to Graham (1966) and Tucker et al. (1989), the International Code of
Botanical Nomenclature (article 76) dictates that this specific
epithet must be treated as a masculine, thus should be Panax
quinquefolius. I go with Linnaeus first given name.
Greek: pan meaning 'all', and akos means
'cure'. A great medicine plant, it seems.