I'm adding another pic today. These are some nice roots I found recently.
I took the photo about 3 days after I found them except for the root at the top, which had already been drying for 10 days before the photo. So it has lost quite a bit of its size already.
The top (stalk,leaves,etc.) on that particular root was actually all brown and dried up. The stalk, all four prongs, and all the leaves were still there. We had an abnormally late freeze this past spring after a warm spell. It killed most all of the buds and flowers on trees. Apparently, this ginseng plant had popped up fairly early and the freeze got it. I found it in the same grassy (weedy?) area in the woods that I described in my last post. There was also a dead stalk from last year beside this years top so I missed it last year somehow.
I counted the bud scars on the two roots at the lower left and both were right at 20+ years. Not nearly the oldest I've found but not bad. Oh, the object in the center is a quarter.
Here is the photo. Click on it for a slightly larger image.