About Goldenseal: Because of its versatile uses and medicinal benefits, goldenseal has been commonly used for centuries as an herbal medicine. Botanist and physician Benjamin Smith Barton compiled an encyclopedia of medicinal plants of North America in 1798, in which he referenced the use of this plant. Barton noted that Native Americans obtained a yellow dye from this plant's distinctive yellow roots, as well as using it to treat a wide variety of ailments including cancer. Though it has always been rare, this native plant has now been so over harvested in the wild that it has been placed on the list of endangered wild plant species.
Goldenseal Germination: Soak the seeds for several hours, then mix them with moist sand; put the mixture into a sealed container or plastic bag to keep the moisture consistent, then store it at room temperature for 2 weeks before direct sowing ¼” deep in late summer. Germination can be slow and irregular; some seeds may not sprout until their second spring. The soil must be kept evenly moist, since the seeds do not sprout when dry.
Growing Goldenseal Seeds: This plant grows best in moist but well-drained soil; do not overwater, since it does not tolerate muddy ground. Drought conditions, however, will cause the plant to go dormant prematurely. A layer of shredded leaves or straw will help conserve necessary moisture and control weeds, which is crucial in the first several seasons of development. The plants will slowly spread by self-seeding and rhizomes, though they will not become weedy.
Harvesting Goldenseal: Because of this plant's rarity, it should never be harvested in the wild. When grown from seed, the plants will be mature enough for a harvest of the roots in 5-7 years. In the dormant season of fall, carefully dig the roots, keeping them as unbroken as possible. The small pieces of roots left behind often enable the plant to regrow. Rinse the roots gently to remove as much dirt as possible, then spread them out to dry on a screen in a very warm, well-ventilated area. When the roots have become light and dry enough to easily break in two, store them in a cool, dry place.
Saving Goldenseal Seeds: Pick the mature red berries and mash them; mix the berries with a small amount of water, and stir it to separate the pulp from the seeds. Discard the pulp and the seeds that float, and save the good seeds that sink to the bottom of the container. Keep the seeds moist and cool until planting.
Detailed Goldenseal Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Yellow Puccoon, Orangeroot, Ground Raspberry, Wild Tumeric, Indian Dye Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring Height: 8-12 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Part Sun to Woodland Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-7b Seeds Per Oz: 2,600 Produces a low plant with divided, slightly hairy toothed leaves, inconspicuous white flowers, and a single red berry.