Artemisia (aka Wormwood)


Artemisia growing in the long back-patch perennial flower beds. (16 September 2019)

Artemisia belong to the Asteracea family of plants.  It is also known as mugwort, wormwood and sagebrush.

Artemisia is a major botanical used in the production of Absinthe and is also used in the other herbal alcohols, such as Vermouth.

In addition to types grown for use in the production of botanicals and brews, there are a few species which are grown as ornamental plants, valued for their finely textured leaves.  All artemisia are best grown in free-draining soil in full sun.  Like many mediterranean plants, these do best in unfertilised ground.


Large patches of pale green-grey Artemisia are visible at the corner point of the perennial flower beds in the back patch. (27 May 2020)

There are several large patches of artemisia planted in the back patch – one just past the first pergola, and the other patches at the sunny corner end of the shady patch under the large cherry tree.

Maggie Campbell-Culver’s The Origins of Plants notes that Artemisia was already familiar in Abbey and Cloister gardens in England circa 1100s.

“A plant which the Italians knew of, Artemisia abrotanum, and which was on the list that Abbot Aelfrid made, may well have settled in Britain some time during this century.  It comes from southern Europe and has always been known as Southernwood – which is what its second name means; it is also known as Lad’s Love and Old Man.  Its yellow blooms have a heavy scent and the Romans believed that if a sprig of the shrub were placed under a pillow, its magical properties would act as a powerful aphrodisiac.  There are about three hundred species in the genus, most of them found in the northern hemisphere.” (The Origin of Plants, p.60; emphasis added)