ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for illegally harvesting ginseng along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Charles Kennedy was sentenced to the jail term Wednesday in Roanoke federal court after pleading guilty to digging up seven pounds of ginseng roots.
The long-stemmed plant with five leaves and distinctive red berries is coveted in many Asian cultures. The plant's gnarly, multipronged root is believed to have medicinal properties that help improve everything from memory to erectile dysfunction.
Police say ginseng poaching has been on the rise in Virginia and elsewhere.
The Roanoke Times) reports that the 56-year- old Kennedy, of Damascus, was also ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution to the National Park Service. He also was banned him from the parkway for a year.
Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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