Summary: The Chinese ginseng Panax notoginseng is a domesticated herb with significant medicinal and economic value. Here we report a chromosome-level P. notoginseng genome assembly with a high (∼79%) repetitive sequence content. The juxtaposition with the widely distributed, closely related Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) genome revealed contraction of plant defense genes (in particular R-genes) in the P. notoginseng genome. We also investigated the reasons for the larger genome size of Panax species, revealing contributions from two Panax-specific whole-genome duplication events and transposable element expansion. Transcriptome data and comparative genome analysis revealed the candidate genes involved in the ginsenoside synthesis pathway. We also performed a genome-wide association study on 240 cultivated P. notoginseng individuals and identified the associated genes with dry root weight (63 genes) and stem thickness (168 genes). The P. notoginseng genome represents a critical step toward harnessing the full potential of an economically important and enigmatic plant.