In many parts of the eastern United States, autumn ushers in the opportunity to make thousands of dollars digging up a coveted root.
Predictions for this year's American ginseng harvest suggest roots could go for as much as $1,400 per pound. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the annual wholesale value of the American ginseng trade is $26.9 million.
American ginseng grows primarily in the deciduous forests of the Appalachians and Ozarks, where many people harvest it legally and countless others poach the plant from private land and protected areas.