Artemisia, also known as Wormwood

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In the world of lawn and garden, artemisias – rugged perennial herbs with varied leaf forms – are often chosen for their silvery foliage color. While the flowers are insignificant yellowish daisies, some types of artemisia are woodier or shrubbier than others, and their size can range anywhere from four inches to over four feet.

Growing artemisias is relatively easy, as they are drought, heat, and cold tolerant, though they do not do well with wet feet in winter. These plants will grow in any decent garden soil, so long as it has good drainage. They perform best in full sun, though they may become somewhat leggy in partial shade.

To propagate artemisias, you can divide them in early spring or grow them from seed. Once you have them established, you can use low-growing types at the front of borders or in rock gardens, while tall types are good toward the back in flower borders and can be massed by themselves.

Artemisia is a large genus of plants that includes a variety of species, including the common herbal (but somewhat toxic) wormwood, called absinthe. Another popular cultivar is the Silver King, also known as southernwood and white sage, while A. frigida forms low mats and can be pruned to shape.

So if you’re interested in learning more about artemisias, check out resources on perennial flowers, perennials, or annual flowers for additional information.


1. What is Artemisia?

Artemisia is a genus of plants that belongs to the daisy family, which includes over 500 different species of herbs and shrubs. The plant is commonly known as wormwood, and it is native to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa.

2. What are the medicinal properties of Artemisia?

The medicinal properties of Artemisia are well-known and have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. These include digestive disorders, fever, and malaria. The plant’s essential oil, which contains the compound thujone, is also used to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.

3. What are the culinary uses of Artemisia?

Artemisia is used in many culinary traditions around the world. The most well-known use is in the production of absinthe, a highly alcoholic and controversial beverage that was banned in many countries in the early 20th century. The plant is also used to flavor meats, fish, and vegetables in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

4. How is Artemisia used in traditional Chinese medicine?

In traditional Chinese medicine, Artemisia is known as Qing Hao, and it is used to treat fever, headaches, and other ailments. The plant’s leaves are dried and ground into a powder, which is then brewed into a tea or taken in capsule form.

5. What are the side effects of Artemisia?

Artemisia is generally considered safe when used in moderation, but some people may experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. The plant should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, and it may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and anticonvulsants.

6. How is Artemisia cultivated?

Artemisia is a hardy plant that can be grown in a variety of soil types and climates. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, and it should be watered regularly during the growing season. The plant can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division, and it should be pruned back in the fall to promote healthy growth the following year.

7. What is the history of Artemisia?

Artemisia has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, it was used to treat ailments such as menstrual cramps and indigestion, while in ancient Egypt, it was used to treat fever and other illnesses. The plant also played a role in the production of absinthe, which became popular in the 19th century among artists and writers in Europe.

8. What are the different species of Artemisia?

There are over 500 different species of Artemisia, each with its unique characteristics and uses. Some of the most common species include Artemisia absinthium, which is used to make absinthe, and Artemisia annua, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat malaria.

9. How is Artemisia used in aromatherapy?

Artemisia essential oil is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and relieve stress. The oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of the plant, and it can be diffused in a room, added to a bath, or used in massage oils. It has a fresh, herbaceous scent that is both calming and invigorating.

10. What are the environmental benefits of Artemisia?

Artemisia is a hardy plant that can grow in poor soil and harsh climates, making it an excellent choice for erosion control and land reclamation projects. The plant’s deep roots also help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while its leaves provide valuable habitat for insects and other wildlife.

11. How is Artemisia used in the production of perfumes?

Artemisia is used in the production of perfumes and fragrances due to its unique scent. The plant’s essential oil is extracted and used as a base note in many perfumes, giving them a fresh, herbaceous aroma. The oil is also used in the production of soaps, candles, and other scented products.

12. What are the cultural and spiritual significance of Artemisia?

Artemisia has played a significant role in many cultures and spiritual traditions throughout history. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the goddess Artemis, who was known as the protector of women and the hunt. In Native American cultures, the plant was used in purification ceremonies, and it was believed to have healing properties.

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