During the 1700's markets for a botanical, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), were developed and the rush was on. Many fortunes were made by harvesting the great numbers of roots found growing wild. One notable character in history, Daniel Boone, made much of his fortune from exploiting ginseng.
Ginseng has been so widely collected in the 200 years since its discovery, that its existence is potentially threatened in many states. For this reason, it now receives protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Each state that allows wild harvest must have an approved management plan before any legal harvesting occurs. This does not apply to cultivated roots which must have certification of cultivation. Many states in the east and mid-west have legally certified harvesting programs. Pennsylvania is one of these states.
Prior to planting any ginseng and then again prior to harvest, contact the local Department of Conservation of Natural Resources to inquire about changes in regulations and how these regulations apply to cultivated ginseng.
Because of its rarity, ginseng is a very valuable commodity. Dried will roots routinely sell for $500 or more per point, depending on quality and age. History of cultivation in Pennsylvania goes back at least 100 years, with publications on cultivation methods dating as far back as 1902. This site will present some modern information on ginseng production in Pennsylvania. Ginseng production is not a new idea for Pennsylvania, but a time tested, traditional crop. Indeed, many "wild" roots are remnants of old plantations.
Catalog prices for ginseng seeds and roots vary greatly; use caution and check with several sources.