Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are widely employed in the studies of population genetics, molecular breeding and conservation genetics. In this study, we explored a simple route to develop SNPs from non-model species based on screening the library of single copy nuclear genes (SCNGs). Through application of this strategy in Panax, we identified 160 and 171 SNPs from P. quinquefolium and P. ginseng, respectively. Our results demonstrated that both P. ginseng and P. quinquefolium possessed a high level of nucleotide diversity. The number of haplotype per locus ranged from 1 to 12 for P. ginseng and from 1 to 9 for P. quinquefolium, respectively. The nucleotide diversity of total sites (πT) varied between 0.000 and 0.023 for P. ginseng and 0.000 and 0.035 for P. quinquefolium, respectively. These findings suggested that this approach is well suited for SNP discovery in non-model organisms and is easily employed in standard genetics laboratory studies.