Dry weather has hindered the growth of West Virginia's ginseng, diggers are being advised to delay their harvests until later in the season.

Ginseng can be legally harvested from August 15 to November 30.

Assistant State Forester Jim Warren says the dry weather has caused many of the plants to lose their leaves early, making them hard to find.

Most of the ginseng harvested in West Virginia is shipped to Asian countries where it is believed to cure a variety of ailments.

Dry weather and a glut in the market combined to reduce the state's ginseng harvest during the 2000-2001 season by 37 percent.

Concerned about the plant's future in the state, the Division of Forestry is conducting a study with researchers from West Virginia University.

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