HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it’s considering banning the age-old tradition of harvesting wild ginseng on state lands.

Biologist Jonathan McKnight said Monday that a state-funded study last year found that the root with supposed medicinal properties has nearly disappeared from Maryland except in the far western mountains.

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McKnight says he expects a ban to be announced before the next harvest season begins Sept. 1.

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Fifteen of the 34 states with native ginseng prohibit harvesting. McKnight says none of the states surrounding Maryland allow ginseng hunting on state land.

The Maryland Agriculture Department licenses ginseng diggers. Program manager Robert Trumbule says a ban may be hard to enforce. He says the state should promote commercial cultivation in wooded areas to ensure a reliable supply.

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