South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Artemisia absinthium

Asteraceae : Artemisia absinthium


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Family Name


Common Name


Native American Name

Lakota: wapezuta


Artemisia absinthium is a perennial herb to weak shrub, very fragrant, growing 40-120 cm tall, with the stems greenish with grooves and covered in short white hairs. The silvery leaves have long petioles and are spirally arranged, greenish gray above, white below, covered with silvery-white hairs, and minute oil-producing glands. The basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bi- to tripinnate and the cauline leaves are smaller, 5–10 cm long, less divided, and with shorter petioles. The uppermost leaves may be much reduced becoming simple and sessile. The inflorescence is a diffuse panicle of heads with each head having involucral bracts 2-3 mm long and the receptacle is covered with numerous long hairs interspersed with the florets. The outer disk flowers are female and the inner florets are perfect. The achenes are cylindrical. Wormwood is an introduced species from Eurasia but is naturalized throughout the northern half of North America. It is found in open fields and along roadsides in many locations in South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Wormwood has a long history of use as medicine in Asia and Europe and is a flavoring in many alcohol-based drinks.

Horticulture Notes

Although wormwood is an attractive subshrub in garden settings, it is usually considered a weed in South Dakota and its use in ornamental plantings is not recommended.

Asteraceae : Artemisia absinthium