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Artemisia vulgaris

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Artemisia vulgaris

Binomial:Artemisia vulgaris
Conditions:Sun to light shade, prefers nitrogen-rich soils
Vegetative Spread:Long-running rhizomes

Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) is a species in the family Asteraceae. It is one of several species in the genus Artemisia/ known as mugwort, and is also occasionally known as Felon Herb, St. John's Plant, Chrysanthemum Weed, and Wild Wormwood. It is native to temperate Europe, Asia and northern Africa, but is also present in North America as an invasive weed. It is a very common plant on nitrogenous soils such as waste places and roadsides.

Description[edit | edit source]

It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing 1–2 m (rarely 2.5 m) tall, with a woody root. The leaves are 5–20 cm long, dark green, pinnate, with dense white tomentose hairs on the underside. The erect stem often has a red-purplish tinge.

The rather small flowers (5 mm long) are radially symmetrical with many yellow or dark red petals. The narrow and numerous capitula (flower heads) spread out in racemose panicles. It flowers from July to September.

Similar species[edit | edit source]

A. vulgaris is often confused with the Chinese mugwort (A. verlotiorum), which is very common too. The latter has oblonge reddish to brown capitula, its stems are green and the leaves broader, lighter coloured and more dense on the stem. The plant's scent is both stronger and more pleasant than that of the common mugwort. It flowers very late in the summer, but reproduces mainly by stolons, thus forming thick groups. The two species share the same habitats.

Mugwort is also sometimes confused with the ragweeds. In the garden, the foliage can look similar to that of hardy mums (Dendranthema spp.), but can be distinguished easily by the light-colored undersides of the leaves, as opposed to the green undersides of chrysanthemum leaves.

Uses[edit | edit source]

Mugwort has both culinary and herbal uses. See the Wikipedia article on Artemisia vulgaris for details.

Control[edit | edit source]

This plant is very aggressive in the garden, and can be very difficult to eradicate once established.

  • Mowing: Regular mowing is a good control, so long as other plants (such as lawn grasses) are mixed in to compete.
  • Pulling: Effective only if done consistently over a long period of time. When pulling, one should take the time to chase down the rhizomes (which are white), as they often spread well beyond the above-ground part of the plant, and will sprout if separated off from the crown.
  • Barriers: Can be effective, using paper mulch barriers, however cloth barriers will not block this plant, and in fact may offer the rootstock some protection against normal cultivation methods.
  • Disposal: Mugwort should never be added to cold compost piles.

References[edit | edit source]