A Visit to an American Ginseng Sanctuary

Compton Gardens

United Plant Savers magazine recently featured an American Ginseng Sanctuary located in Compton Gardens in Bentonville, AR. Madison Woods of Wild Ozark is the sanctuary steward. She received a grant from United Plant Savers to establish the sanctuary in 2015. I was lucky enough to tour Compton Gardens on a recent trip home to visit family in Northwest Arkansas.

American Ginseng Sanctuary

United Plant Savers provided a grant to Madison Woods to help establish the American Ginseng Sanctuary.

Compton Gardens is a peaceful 6.5-acre oasis which hosts native woodland plants. In addition to American Ginseng, many plants from the United Plant Savers at-risk and to-watch lists are growing in the garden, such as Blue Cohosh, Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Lobelia and Maidenhair Fern.

Maidenhair fern

Compton Gardens hosts many at-risk and to-watch plants, such as Maidenhair fern.

Plant Identification: American Ginseng or Ohio Buckeye?

My excitement at finding an abundance of American Ginseng plants in Compton Gardens quickly turned to disappointment when I discovered the plants were Ohio Buckeye. This is a common mistake. Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy are also frequently mistaken for American Ginseng in the Ozark Mountains. Madison Woods was kind enough to provide me with her e-book, American Ginseng & Companions, which details these look-alike plants.

Future trips home will not be complete without a visit to Compton Gardens. I’m looking forward to watching the American Ginseng Sanctuary grow. I’m so grateful to folks like Madison Woods who are using their gifts and expertise to protect these important plants.

Meanwhile, back at the Urban Herb Farm….

As I mentioned in my last post, my garden no longer hosts edible plants. Instead, I have added several more Yarrow and Echinacea plants. I am also trying my hand at growing Aloe sinkatana, Hesperaloe parviflora (Yucca Red), and Selenecereus grandifloras (Cactus grandifloras). If you have experience growing any of these plants, I welcome your advice in the comment section below.


  • Reply October 14, 2016

    Madison Woods

    Thanks for visiting the ginseng sanctuary! I hope that when you come back there will be more of the ginseng around to compare with the look-alikes for you :) If you let me know when you’re heading that way, I’ll be happy to come out and help with i.d. if you like, too.

    • Reply October 19, 2016

      Anita Burke

      Thank you so much for your help, Madison. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

  • Reply October 14, 2016

    Sharon Hawkins

    Hope you discover ginseng on next trip!

    • Reply October 19, 2016

      Anita Burke

      Thanks, Sharon! With Madison’s help, definitely!

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