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Wormwood

Wormwood
(Artemisia absinthium)

A fragrant perennial herbaceous plant with a woody stem. Fragrance resembles that of garden sage.



Overview

Regulated areas of Wormwood
This species is Restricted (Orange counties)

Other names for this plant include:

  • Common names: artemisia, absinth sage, absinth wormwood, absinth sagewort, common sagewort, absinthe mugwort, absintium
  • Scientific names: Artemisia absinthium var. absinthium; Artemisia absinthium var. insipida

Ecological threat:

  • Invades coniferous and hardwood forests, prairies, meadows, grasslands, fields, and disturbed areas.
  • Viable seeds have been found in undisturbed grassland prairies
  • Plants are prolific seed producers
  • Naturalized throughout much of the United States.
  • Alters the flavor of milk when cows consume the plant
  • Chemical compounds may inhibit the growth of some surrounding plant species, while stimulating growth of others.

Classification in Wisconsin: Restricted

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for wormwood was based upon this literature review developed by the department.

Identification

Leaves & stems: Leaves are light green- greyish in color, and covered in fine, silky white hairs. Deeply pinnately divided with round lobes/edges. Fragrance is similar to garden sage. Stems are somewhat woody.

Flowers: Small tubular flowers born on dangling and dropping stalks form yellow clusters.

Fruits & seeds: Light brown seeds are shaped like sunflowers seeds, broader at the base and more narrow at the tip.

Roots: Plants have central taproot as well as long-branching lateral roots. Plants are mildly rhizomatous.

Similar species: Wormwood resembles many other species in the genus Artemisia , some of which are of special concern and other are introduced non-natives:

Artemisia ludoviciana; native. Leaves are lance-shaped and undivided (with few to no lobes). Artemisia serrata; native. Lance-shaped slender leaves have toothed edges. Artemisia frigida; native and of special concern. Artemisia dracunculus; native and of special concern. Flower heads are erect, not nodding like the invasive A. absinthium.

Visit the Wisconsin Herbarium links under the resources tab for more information on identification.

Distribution

Artemisia absinthium
Counties in WI where wormwood has been reported (as of July 2013). Both vouchered and unvouchered reports included.

Do you have wormwood in your county but it isn't shaded on the map? Send us a report.

Control

Mechanical:

  • Dig up individual plants. For larger populations, mow as close to the ground as possible. Monitor for re-sprouts.
  • Cover the infestation with black landscape fabric/plastic in early spring, when leaves emerge. Keep covered for a minimal of one growing season.
  • With sufficient fuel loads, consecutive prescribed burns are also a successful control option.

Chemical:

  • Picloram, dicamba, 2,4-D, and glyphosate are all effective herbicides. Follow recommended label rates.

Photos

View wormwood pictures in our photo gallery!

Resources

Sources for Content:

  • Carey, Jennifer H. 1994. Artemisia absinthium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).[2013, August 12].
  • University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
  • Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Management; invasive.org

Links for More Information:

Last revised: Monday June 03 2019