MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Deputies say a poacher has stolen 45 ginseng plants from a Blount County field.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Jarrod Millsaps told The Daily Times ginseng poaching is common in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but he has not seen it often in the community.
Each year park rangers seize between 500 and 1000 illegally poached ginseng roots. The rangers have said they are concerned the slow-growing native plants could disappear if poaching continues.
Ginseng is considered a medicinal plant and is especially popular in China, where overharvesting has led to its near extinction.
The Blount County theft occurred in the community of Walland sometime between Aug. 15 and Aug. 27.