My watch list  

Artemisia (plant)


Artemisia dracunculus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
L., 1753

See text


Artemisia is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200-400 species belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae. It comprises hardy herbs and shrubs known for their volatile oils. They grow in temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, usually in dry or semi-dry habitats. The fern-like leaves of many species are covered with white hairs. Some botanists split the genus into several genera, but DNA analysis (Watson et al. 2002) does not support the maintenance of the genera Crossostephium, Filifolium, Neopallasia, Seriphidium, and Sphaeromeria; three other segregate genera Stilnolepis, Elachanthemum, and Kaschgaria are maintained by this evidence.

Common names used for several species include wormwood, mugwort, sagebrush and sagewort, while a few species have unique names, notably Tarragon A. dracunculus and Southernwood A. abrotanum. Occasionally some of the species are called sages, causing confusion with the Salvia sages in the family Lamiaceae.

Artemisia species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species. See List of Lepidoptera that feed on Artemisia.


Selected species

  • Artemisia abrotanum L. – Southernwood, Southern Wormwood, Abrotanum, Lemon Plant
  • Artemisia absinthium L. – Wormwood, Grand Wormwood, Absinth Wormwood, Absinthium
  • Artemisia adamsii Besser
  • Artemisia afra – African Wormwood, African Sagebrush
  • Artemisia alaskana Rydb. – Alaska Wormwood
  • Artemisia alba
  • Artemisia alcockii Pamp.
  • Artemisia aleutica Hultén – Aleutian Wormwood
  • Artemisia amoena Poljakov
  • Artemisia annua L. – Annual Wormwood, Sweet Sagewort, Sweet Annie
  • Artemisia araxina Takht.
  • Artemisia arborescens - Tree Wormwood
  • Artemisia arbuscula Nutt. – Little Sagebrush, Low Sagebrush, Black Sage
  • Artemisia arctica Less. – Boreal Sagebrush
  • Artemisia arctisibirica Korobkov
  • Artemisia arenaria DC.
  • Artemisia arenicola Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia argentea (Madeira wormwood ?)
  • Artemisia argyi H.Lév. & Vaniot
  • Artemisia argyrophylla Ledeb.
  • Artemisia armeniaca Lam.
  • Artemisia aschurbajewii C.G.Aro
  • Artemisia australis Less. – Oahu Wormwood
  • Artemisia austriaca Jacq.
  • Artemisia avarica Minat.
  • Artemisia badhysi Krasch. & Lincz. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia balchanorum Krasch.
  • Artemisia baldshuanica Krasch. & Zaprjag.
  • Artemisia bargusinensis Spreng.
  • Artemisia bejdemaniae Leonova
  • Artemisia biennis Willd. – Biennial Sagewort, Biennial Wormwood
  • Artemisia bigelovii Gray – Bigelow Sage, Bigelow Sagebrush
  • Artemisia borealis Pall.
  • Artemisia borotalensis Poljakov
  • Artemisia bottnica Lundstr. ex Kindb.
  • Artemisia caespitosa Ledeb.
  • Artemisia californica Less. – Coastal Sagebrush, California Sagebrush
  • Artemisia camelorum Krasch.
  • Artemisia campestris L. – Field Wormwood
  • Artemisia cana Pursh – Silver Sagebrush
  • Artemisia canadensis – Canada Wormwood
  • Artemisia capillaris Thunb.
  • Artemisia carruthii Wood ex Carruth. – Carruth Sagewort, Carruth's Sagebrush
  • Artemisia caucasica Willd.
  • Artemisia chamaemelifolia Vill.
  • Artemisia cina O. Berg & C. F. Schmidt – Santonica, Levant Wormseed
  • Artemisia ciniformis Krasch. & Popov ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia coarctata (???)
  • Artemisia commutata Besser
  • Artemisia compacta Fisch. ex DC.
  • Artemisia cuspidata Krasch.
  • Artemisia czukavinae Filatova
  • Artemisia daghestanica Krasch. & Poretzky
  • Artemisia demissa Krasch.
  • Artemisia depauperata Krasch.
  • Artemisia deserti Krasch.
  • Artemisia desertorum Spreng.
  • Artemisia diffusa Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia dimoana Popov
  • Artemisia dolosa Krasch.
  • Artemisia douglasiana Bess. – Douglas' Mugwort, Douglas' Sagewort
  • Artemisia dracunculus L. – Tarragon
  • Artemisia dubia Wall.
  • Artemisia dubjanskyana Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia dumosa Poljakov
  • Artemisia elongata Filatova & Ladygina
  • Artemisia eremophila Krasch. & Butkov ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia eriantha Ten.
  • Artemisia feddei H.Lév. & Vaniot
  • Artemisia fedtschenkoana Krasch.
  • Artemisia ferganensis Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia filifolia Torr. – Sand Sagebrush, Sand Sagebush, Silvery Wormwood
  • Artemisia flava Jurtzev
  • Artemisia franserioides Greene – Ragweed Sagebrush
  • Artemisia freyniana (Pamp.) Krasch.
  • Artemisia frigida Willd. – Fringed Sagebrush, Fringed Sagewort, Prairie Sagewort
  • Artemisia fulvella Filatova & Ladygina
  • Artemisia furcata Bieb. – Forked Wormwood
  • Artemisia galinae Ikonn.
  • Artemisia glabella Kar. & Kir.
  • Artemisia glacialis – Glacier Wormwood, Alpine Mugwort
  • Artemisia glanduligera Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd.
  • Artemisia glaucina Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia globosa Krasch.
  • Artemisia globularia Cham. ex Bess. – Purple Wormwood
  • Artemisia glomerata Ledeb. – Cudweed Sagewort, Pacific Alpine Wormwood
  • Artemisia gmelinii Webb ex Stechmann – Gmelin's Wormwood
  • Artemisia gnaphalodes Nutt.
  • Artemisia gorjaevii Poljakov
  • Artemisia gracilescens Krasch. & Iljin
  • Artemisia gurganica (Krasch.) Filatova
  • Artemisia gypsacea Krasch., Popov & Lincz. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia halodendron Turcz. ex Besser
  • Artemisia halophila Krasch.
  • Artemisia heptapotamica Poljakov
  • Artemisia hippolyti Butkov
  • Artemisia hololeuca M.Bieb. ex Besser
  • Artemisia hulteniana Vorosch.
  • Artemisia incana (L.) Druce
  • Artemisia insulana Krasch.
  • Artemisia insularis Kitam.
  • Artemisia integrifolia L.
  • Artemisia issykkulensis Poljakov
  • Artemisia jacutica Drobow
  • Artemisia japonica Thunb.
  • Artemisia juncea Kar. & Kir.
  • Artemisia karatavica Krasch. & Abolin ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia karavajevii Leonova
  • Artemisia kaschgarica Krasch.
  • Artemisia kauaiensis (Skottsberg) Skottsberg – Kauai Wormwood
  • Artemisia keiskeana Miq.
  • Artemisia kelleri Krasch.
  • Artemisia kemrudica Krasch.
  • Artemisia knorringiana Krasch.
  • Artemisia kochiiformis Krasch. & Lincz. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia koidzumii Nakai
  • Artemisia kopetdaghensis Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia korovinii Poljakov
  • Artemisia korshinskyi Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia krushiana Bess. – Krush's Wormwood
  • Artemisia kulbadica Boiss. & Buhse
  • Artemisia kuschakewiczii C.G.A.Winkl.
  • Artemisia laciniata Willd. – Siberian Wormwood
  • Artemisia laciniatiformis Kom.
  • Artimisia lactiflora
  • Artemisia lagocephala (Besser) DC.
  • Artemisia lagopus Fisch. ex Besser
  • Artemisia latifolia Ledeb.
  • Artemisia ledebouriana Besser
  • Artemisia lehmanniana Bunge
  • Artemisia leontopodioides Fisch. ex Besser
  • Artemisia lessingiana Besser
  • Artemisia leucodes Schrenk
  • Artemisia leucophylla (Turcz. ex Besser) Pamp.
  • Artemisia leucotricha Krasch. ex Ladygina
  • Artemisia lindleyana Bess. – Columbia River Wormwood
  • Artemisia lipskyi Poljakov
  • Artemisia littoricola Kitam.
  • Artemisia longifolia Nutt. – Longleaf Sagebrush, Longleaf Wormwood
  • Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt. – Gray Sagewort, Prairie Sage, White Sagebrush
  • Artemisia macilenta (Maxim.) Krasch.
  • Artemisia macrantha Ledeb.
  • Artemisia macrobotrys Ledeb. – Yukon Wormwood
  • Artemisia macrocephala Jacq. ex Besser
  • Artemisia macrorhiza Turcz.
  • Artemisia maracandica Bunge
  • Artemisia maritima L. – Sea Wormwood
  • Artemisia marschalliana Spreng.
  • Artemisia martjanovii Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia mauiensis (Gray) Skottsberg – Maui Wormwood
  • Artemisia maximovicziana Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia medioxima Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia messerschmidtiana Besser
  • Artemisia michauxiana Bess. – Michaux Sagebrush, Michaux's Wormwood
  • Artemisia mogoltavica Poljakov
  • Artemisia mongolica (Besser) Fisch. ex Nakai
  • Artemisia mongolorum Krasch.
  • Artemisia montana (Nakai) Pamp.
  • Artemisia mucronulata Poljakov
  • Artemisia multisecta Leonova
  • Artemisia namanganica Poljakov
  • Artemisia nesiotica Raven – Island Sagebrush
  • Artemisia nigricans Filatova & Ladygina
  • Artemisia norvegica Fries – Norwegian Mugwort
  • Artemisia nova A. Nels. – Black Sagebrush
  • Artemisia obscura Pamp.
  • Artemisia obtusiloba Ledeb.
  • Artemisia oelandica (Besser) Krasch.
  • Artemisia olchonensis Leonova
  • Artemisia oliveriana J. Gay ex Besser
  • Artemisia opulenta Pamp.
  • Artemisia packardiae J. Grimes & Ertter – Packard's Wormwood, Succor Creek Sagebrush
  • Artemisia pallasiana Fisch. ex Besser
  • Artemisia palmeri Gray – San Diego Sagewort
  • Artemisia palustris L.
  • Artemisia pannosa Krasch.
  • Artemisia papposa Blake & Cronq. – Owyhee Sage, Owyhee Sagebrush
  • Artemisia parryi Gray – Parry's Wormwood
  • Artemisia pattersonii Gray – Patterson's Wormwood
  • Artemisia pectinata Pall.
  • Artemisia pedatifida Nutt. – Birdfoot Sagebrush
  • Artemisia pedemontana Balb.
  • Artemisia persica Boiss.
  • Artemisia pewzowii C.G.A.Winkl.
  • Artemisia phaeolepis Krasch.
  • Artemisia polysticha Poljakov
  • Artemisia pontica L. – Roman Wormwood
  • Artemisia porrecta Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia porteri Cronq. – Porter's Wormwood
  • Artemisia prasina Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia proceriformis Krasch.
  • Artemisia prolixa Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia punctigera Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia purshiana Besser
  • Artemisia pycnocephala (Less.) DC. – Beach Wormwood
  • Artemisia pycnorhiza Ledeb.
  • Artemisia pygmaea Gray – Pygmy Sagebrush
  • Artemisia quinqueloba Trautv.
  • Artemisia remotiloba Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia rhodantha Rupr.
  • Artemisia rigida (Nutt.) Gray – Scabland Sagebrush
  • Artemisia rothrockii Gray – Timberline Sagebrush
  • Artemisia rubripes Nakai
  • Artemisia rupestris L. – Rock Wormwood, Alpine Yarrow
  • Artemisia rutifolia Stephan ex Spreng.
  • Artemisia saissanica (Krasch.) Filatova
  • Artemisia saitoana Kitam.
  • Artemisia salsoloides Willd.
  • Artemisia samoiedorum Pamp.
  • Artemisia santolina Schrenk
  • Artemisia santolinifolia Turcz. ex Besser
  • Artemisia santonica L.
  • Artemisia saposhnikovii Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia schischkinii Krasch.
  • Artemisia schmidtiana – 'Nana' - Silver Mound Artemisia - Satiny Wormwood[1][2]
"tiny silver ball-like flowers"[3]
  • Artemisia schrenkiana Ledeb.
  • Artemisia scoparia Waldst. & Kit. – Redstem Wormwood
  • Artemisia scopiformis Ledeb.
  • Artemisia scopulorum Gray – Alpine Sagebrush, Dwarf Sagebrush
  • Artemisia scotina Nevski
  • Artemisia senjavinensis Bess. – Arctic Wormwood
  • Artemisia selengensis Turcz. ex Besser
  • Artemisia semiarida (Krasch. & Lavrenko) Filatova
  • Artemisia senjavinensis Besser
  • Artemisia sericea Weber ex Stechm.
  • Artemisia serotina Bunge
  • Artemisia serrata Nutt. – Sawtooth Wormwood
  • Artemisia spinescens (syn. Picrothamnus desertorum) – Bud Brush, Bud Sage
  • Artemisia sieversiana Willd.
  • Artemisia skorniakowii C.G.A.Winkl.
  • Artemisia sogdiana Bunge
  • Artemisia songarica Schrenk
  • Artemisia spicigera K.Koch
  • Artemisia splendens Willd.
  • Artemisia stelleriana Bess. – Hoary Mugwort
  • Artemisia stenocephala Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia stenophylla Kitam.
  • Artemisia stolonifera (Maxim.) Kom.
  • Artemisia subarctica Krasch.
  • Artemisia subchrysolepis Filatova
  • Artemisia sublessingiana Krasch. ex Poljakov
  • Artemisia subsalsa Filatova
  • Artemisia subviscosa Turcz. ex Besser
  • Artemisia succulenta Ledeb.
  • Artemisia suksdorfii Piper – Coastal Wormwood
  • Artemisia sylvatica Maxim.
  • Artemisia szowitziana (Besser) Grossh.
  • Artemisia tanacetifolia L.
  • Artemisia taurica Willd.
  • Artemisia tenuisecta Nevski
  • Artemisia terrae-albae Krasch.
  • Artemisia tianschanica Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia tilesii Ledeb. – Tilesius' Wormwood
  • Artemisia tomentella Trautv.
  • Artemisia tournefortiana Rchb.
  • Artemisia transbaicalensis Leonova
  • Artemisia transiliensis Poljakov
  • Artemisia trautvetteriana Besser
  • Artemisia tridentata Nutt. – Big Sagebrush, Blue Sage, Black Sage, Basin Sagebrush
  • Artemisia triniana Besser
  • Artemisia tripartita Rydb. – Threetip Sagebrush
  • Artemisia turanica Krasch.
  • Artemisia turcomanica Gand.
  • Artemisia umbelliformis Lam. – Alps Wormwood
  • Artemisia unalaskensis Rydb.
  • Artemisia vachanica Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia valida Krasch. ex Poljak.
  • Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte – Chinese Wormwood, Herba Lenna Yesca
  • Artemisia viridis Willd.
  • Artemisia vulgaris L. – Mugwort

Cultivation and uses

The aromatic leaves of many species of Artemisia are medicinal, and some are used for flavouring. Most species have an extremely bitter taste. A. dracunculus (Tarragon) is widely used as a herb, particularly important in French cuisine.

Artemisia absinthium (Absinth Wormwood) was used to repel fleas and moths, and in brewing (wormwood beer, wormwood wine). The aperitif vermouth (derived from the German word Wermut, "wormwood") is a wine flavored with aromatic herbs, but originally with wormwood. The highly potent spirit absinthe, also contains wormwood. Wormwood has been used medicinally as a tonic, stomachic, febrifuge and anthelmintic.

Artemisia arborescens (Tree Wormwood, or Sheeba in Arabic) is a very bitter herb indigenous to the Middle East that is used in tea, usually with mint. It may have some hallucinogenic properties.

Within such religious practicies as Wicca, both Wormwood and Mugwort are believed to have multiple effects on the psychic abilities of the practitioner. Because of the power believed to be inherent in certain herbs of the genus Artemisia, many believers cultivate the plants in a "moon garden".

The beliefs surrounding this genus are founded upon the strong association between the herbs of the genus Artemisia and the moon goddess Artemis, who is believed to hold these powers. She is known also by Diana, Selene, and Phoebe. In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess of the hunt, and protector of the forest and children.

It is also said that the genus Artemisia (which includes over 400 plants) may be named after an ancient botanist. Artemisia was the wife and sister of the Greek/Persian King Mausolus from the name of whose tomb we get the word mausoleum. Artemisia, who ruled for three years after the king's death, was a botanist and medical researcher, and died in 350 B.C. [1] [2].

The bitterness of the plant led to its use by wet-nurses for weaning infants from the breast, as in this speech by Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet Act I, Scene 3:

Nurse: ...
And she [Juliet] was wean'd, – I never shall forget it, –
Of all the days of the year, upon that day:
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,

A few species are grown as ornamental plants, the fine-textured ones used for clipped bordering. All grow best in free-draining sandy soil, unfertilized, and in full sun.


  • Shakespeare often refers to wormwood in Hamlet.
  • "As bitter as wormwood" is a common expression.
  • Wormwood (Apsinthos in the Greek text) is the "name of the star" in the Book of Revelation (8:11) (kai to onoma tou asteros legetai ho Apsinthos) that John the Evangelist envisions as cast by the angel and falling into the waters, making them undrinkably bitter. Outside the Book of Revelation, there are up to eight further references in the Bible showing that wormwood was a common herb of the area and its awful taste was known, as a drinkable preparation applied for specific reasons.
  • The word Chernobyl properly refers to Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort). Some authors claim the Chernobyl Disaster relates to the above sense of "Apsinthos", which is probably A. absinthum (Absinth Wormwood; see Chernobyl: Name origin).
  • Wormwood is a junior devil in The Screwtape Letters, a novel by C. S. Lewis on human temptation. Miss Wormwood is the name of Calvin's teacher in Calvin and Hobbes, a former daily comic strip by Bill Watterson. This character is named after the Screwtape Letters character.
  • In Russian culture, the fact that Artemisia species are commonly used in medicine, and their bitter taste is associated with medicinal effects, has caused wormwood to be seen as a symbol for a "bitter truth" that must be accepted by a deluded (often self-deluded) person. This symbol has acquired a particular poignancy in modern Russian poetry, which often deals with the loss of illusory beliefs in various ideologies.
  • Artemisinin (from Chinese wormwood) is the active ingredient in the anti-malarial combination therapy 'Coartem', produced by Novartis and the WHO.


  1. ^ Etymology
  2. ^ Etymology

References and external links

  • Watson, L. E. et al. (2002). Molecular phylogeny of subtribe Artemisiinae (Asteraceae), including Artemisia and its allied and segregate genera. BioMed Central Evolutionary Biology 2 (17). Available online.
  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Artemisia
  • Flora Europaea: Artemisia
  • Flora of China: Artemisia species list and Seriphidium species list
  • Flora of Pakistan: Artemisia and Seriphidium species list
  • Pagan Path: [4]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Artemisia_(plant)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE