Scientific: Artemisia absinthium
Common: Common wormwood
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Mediterranean region of Europe and Asia where it grows in dry, rocky waste places. It has escaped cultivation and become naturalized in other temperate areas, including the NE US and Canada.

Pronounciation: Ar-te-ME-zee-a ab-SIN-the-um

Hardiness zones
USDA 4-5 (as an annual), 6-11 (as a short-lived perennial)

Landscape Use: Garden border, large edging, garden background, filler, foliar accent where whitish grey foliage is wanted.

Form & Character: Wispy, delicate, spreading

Growth Habit: Evergreen perennial, moderate growth to 2 to 4 feet with equal spread

Foliage/Texture: Ovate to orbicular, 3 inches long on distinct petiole, silvery gray, finely divided, pinntified, pungently aromatic; fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Small yellow flowers to 1/8 inch in diameter, arranged in a panicle, fruits inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: None, as flowers are not the feature point of this plant.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Partial to full sun

Soil: Tolerant, but in Phoenix grows best in a well-drained soil in Phoenix with an organic surface mulch.

Watering: Though this sub-shrub appears as if it will tolerate some desert drought (but it won't), common wormwood will need supplemental water in Phoenix landscapes. It looks best if given infrequent, but regular heavy water applications during summer. However, no supplemental water in winter is generally needed.

Pruning: Head back lightly to control form and direct and maintain shape.

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late summer or autumn. It also can be propagated by dividing the roots in autumn.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: This is a nice silver gray foliar accent sub-shrub for perennial gardens and landscape borders. The cultivar 'Lambrook Silver' is somewhat smaller with especially fine cut silvery leaves.

Absinthium means without you guessed it...ALL parts of this plant are bitter. The bitterness is thought to stimulate acid and bile production when ingested and has at various times throughout history been prescribed for stomach aches and those with underactive digestive systems. Absinthe was once prescribed to kill intestinal parasitic worms. Other species of Artemisia still are used in Asia to treat intestinal worms. The pungent foliage of absinthe is an effective insect repellent when rubbed on the skin or placed in pantries and drawers.

A psychedelic drink, absinthe, was once commonly made from Artemisia absinthium and was popularly consumed during the 19th and early 20th centuries by European artists. It contains the compound thujone, which has been thought to cause hallucinations. Reality is it was mostly the high alcohol content (greater than 70%) rather than any psychedelic properties that caused these artist to trip out...