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Estragon Artemisia dracunculus

Phonetic Spelling
ar-tem-EE-zee-ah dra-KUN-koo-lus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Artemisia dracunculus is an herbaceous perennial in the sunflower family.  This is a wild tarragon plant from which culinary varieties have been cultivated for their aromatic leaves.  It is widely distributed throughout much of North America and Eurasia.  In the wild, this plant is found in dry open places such as roadsides, meadows, desert scrub habitats, or disturbed areas.  This shrub-like plant reaches heights up to 3 feet with erect stems, slender branches, and narrow linear leaves.  It produces non-ornamental flowers in summer resulting in viable seeds that may self-seed.  It spreads readily by means of rhizomatous roots and it is easily propagated from root-stocks.  The wild species has been used primarily for medicinal purposes and, to a lesser extent, culinary use.  A. dracunculus, when denoted without reference to any cultivar or variety, refers to wild tarragon that has minimal fragrance and its flavor may be bland or unpleasant.  Cultivars developed and preferred for culinary use, are more pungent and flavorful.  Culinary varieties specify the cultivar name for clarity (e.g., A. dracunculus 'Sativa' is French Tarragon). Wild tarragon is best suited to dry, sunny, pH neutral, well-drained soil.  It is suitable for herb gardens, containers, or naturalized areas but is generally not used in ornamental plantings as it can take on a weedy appearance.  Plants are susceptible to root or crown rot in moist, poorly drained soils.  Plants may decline during wet, humid summers or cold, wet winters.  Removing flower buds, dead-heading, and pruning in mid to late summer helps to rejuvenate healthy growth. In early spring, cut plants to the ground.  Clumps should be divided every 2-4 years to maintain robust growth.  This plant is known to be poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses if ingested in sufficient quantity.  In humans, occasional consumption of the plant in small culinary quantities is thought to be safe. Scientific literature regarding toxicity from other uses is inconclusive.  Essential oils in the plant, particularly its roots, has the potential to cause contact dermatitis in humans.

 

More information on Artemisia.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Sativa'
    French Tarragon – more pungent anise-like flavor, rarely flowers
'Sativa'
Tags:
#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Sativa'
    French Tarragon – more pungent anise-like flavor, rarely flowers
'Sativa'
Tags:
#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Artemisia
    Species:
    dracunculus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used leaves as an herb or tea. Leaves and seeds were also eaten as food. Leaves, stems, roots and flowers were used extensively for medicinal purposes. The plant was also used to repel insects.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Temperate Europe and Asia, central-western North America
    Distribution:
    Europe, Asia, central-western North America, Alaska, Great Britain, New Zealand
    Play Value:
    Fragrance
    Textural
    Edibility:
    Leaves and seeds
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescences are branched, elongated panicles. Greenish-white or greenish-yellow pedicellate flowers are produced in small spherical capitula each containing up to 40 florets.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Gray-green, alternate, sessile, linear to linear-lanceolate blades, sparsely hairy or smooth. Mostly entire but may be irregularly lobed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Numerous erect, green to reddish brown stems form clusters. They may be smooth or covered with short hairs and may be somewhat woody.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Rock Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    In Dogs/Cats/Horses - Vomiting, hypersalivation, diahrrea, incoordination, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, sleepiness or excitation, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Artemisinin essential oil- estragole, methyleugenol, thujone, and furanocoumarin toxic constituents
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems