South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Artemisia dracunculus

Asteraceae : Artemisia dracunculus


Download Mature plants along the Missouri River (2.8 MB)

Download Clusters of stems (2.0 MB)

Download Leaves and stems (689 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Wild tarragon, Silky wormwood


Artemisia dracunculus is a woody, perennial shrub, often quite fragrant, with stems ranging from 40 to 150 cm tall. The stems arise from thick, horizontal rhizomes growing singly or in clusters. The stems are often reddish colored and smooth to pubescent. Leaves are alternate, linear, 2 to 8 cm long and 1 to 6 mm wide. Basal leaves are cleft with 1 to 3 lobes. The inflorescence is a panicle with numerous heads. Each head is surrounded by an involucre that is 2-3 mm tall and has a naked receptacle. The yellow outer florets are pistillate and fertile. The central flowers are yellow, sterile, with ovaries that are abortive. The fruits are achenes elliptical and about 1.5 mm in length. Wild tarragon blooms in August and September and is usually found on dry open slopes throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

The young foliage of Artemisia dracunculus has a sweet, pungent odor when crushed and is the source of the cooking herb, tarragon.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Achenes can be collected in late fall when they begin to drop. Seed production varies with locations, with some plants rarely flowering,

Germination: Seeds planted outside in the fall will germinate the following spring.

Vegetative propagation: Clusters of stems can be separated and transplanted in the spring.

Soils: Well drained, organically rich soils.

Water: Plants do best in medium to dryer soils.

Light: Full Sun.

Asteraceae : Artemisia dracunculus