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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Yellowroot, wild turmeric, orangeroot, eyebalm, eyebright, Indian turmeric

Latin Name: Hydrastis canadensis

Plant Family: Ranunculaceae

Close Relatives: Black cohosh, buttercup, delphinium

Uses and Markets: Medicinal (e.g. treatment of digestive and many other disorders)

GoldensealGoldenseal roots have a distinct yellow colour
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Goldenseal is considered an endangered species in Ontario and is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Anyone wishing to grow goldenseal in Ontario must contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

Propagation method

Seed, rhizome cuttings, root cuttings.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Late summer to fall. Fresh goldenseal seeds that are immediately sown will have good germination the following spring. Storage of seeds for any length of time will result in germination a year later.

Field Transplanting Dates

Fall or spring.

In-row spacing

15 cm; seeded goldenseal should be spaced closer to account for the germination rate of the seed lot; Goldenseal is typically seeded in raised beds similar to ginseng production.

Between row spacing

15 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from North Carolina has shown a low requirement of goldenseal for nitrogen. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils, sandy to sandy loam soils; will not survive in saturated soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Artificial shade – requires 20 to 40% of full sunlight; goldenseal requires a mulch, usually straw, at a depth of 5-10 cm.

Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

3-5 years; root production increases with age but disease pressures dictate when a particular field is harvested.

Specialized equipment

Specialized equipment is available for marking out posts, bed formation, seeding, straw spreading, erecting shade, harvesting, and drying, since production requirements are very similar to those of ginseng.


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest (modified potato diggers).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvested in September or October.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Harvested goldenseal is usually washed and then dried soon after harvest in forced air kilns, with an optimum drying temperature of around 38°C or less.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): Dried product is stored in plastic-lined barrels after drying to slow re-hydration but storage under low humidity will prolong shelf-life.

Temperature (°C): : Low temperature storage will improve shelf-life.

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 2-4 years

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Slugs

Diseases: Damping-off, Alternaria leaf blight, Rhizoctonia crown rot, Fusarium rot, root-knot nematodes, Cylindrocladium colhounii, Botrytis blight

Other: Rodents

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: None

Diseases: None

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: slugs, Botrytis blight. This crop is not in a crop group. There are no pest control products registered on this crop. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Botrytis blight lesion on goldensealRoot-knot nematode nodules on goldenseal
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Reeleder, R.D. 2003. The ginseng root pathogens Cylindrocarpon destructans and Phytophthora cactorum are not pathogenic to the medicinal herbs Hydrastis canadensis and Actaea racemosa. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 25: 218-221.
  2. Reeleder, R. D. 2004. A new root disease of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) caused by Cylindrocladium colhounii. Journal of Plant Pathology 26: 596-600
  1. Bown, D. 1996. Encyclopedia of herbs and their uses. BCA, London
  2. Davis, J.M. 1996. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and soil pH effects on goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) growth, root yield, and quality. HortScience 31: 673.
  3. Persons, W.S. and J.M. Davis. 2005. Growing and marketing ginseng, goldenseal and other woodland medicinals. Bright Mountain Books Inc., Fairview, North Carolina.