Artemisia absinthianis (or the common name, Absinthe or Absinthea absinthi) is a succulent perennial plant commonly found growing in southern Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a member of the family called Succinagaceae, with the family having more than one hundred representatives from five continents. The plant is native to the Mediterranean regions but has spread widely across tundra regions and sub-tropical climates. It was introduced by the Romans to control the spread of a deadly parasite used to kill sheep and cattle. Artemisia Absinthium (or Wormwood) is a common ingredient in herbal medicines and has a multitude of medical uses. This article discusses the basics of herb gardening and why you should care about this beautiful plant.
This succulent perennial blooms in varying colors of pink, purple, red, and yellow. It comes in a variety of colors from white, purple, red, orange, yellow, brown, and black. The plant is cultivated as a beautiful ornamental herb in borders and along pathways throughout many gardens. The Artemisia absinthium plant is useful for many culinary herbs. Cooking instructions can be found on most herb gardening websites.
In the old English language, the term “artemisia” referred to wormwood. In fact, wormwood was also called “mullein”. The scientific name for artemisia absinthium is “Artemisia plicata”. Some herbs commonly used as cooking ingredients include clove, anise, barberry, echinacea, wormseed, and milkweed.
Like many other plants, artemisia absinthium produces flowers that are used as a culinary herb. These flowers are large and gray-green and the leaves are rounded and bushy. The plant is a perennial herb and a bright green plant. The best time to harvest the leaves of this perennial herb is in late spring or early summer.
Mistletoe, another well-known culinary herb, and artemisia absinthium have similar characteristics, which make them similar in behavior. Both plants grow to about four to five feet tall with the tops of the plants reaching three to four feet. The flowers are about one to two inches in diameter.
Mistletoe has small gray-green leaves and its stamens are long and pendulous. The flowers are about one to two inches in diameter with a pointed tip. The herb has a dark green color on pale red ground. This is a fast-growing herb that prefers full sunlight. The common cold hardy plant can survive even in cold weather, provided it’s protected by a sheltering shrub or a fence of rocks.
In old English the plant was called “pied plait”. The name referred to the plant’s habit of hanging loosely in bud from the stems. Early American pioneers discovered that the herb hung like a curtain from the plant’s stems and hence the name “pied plait”. In old English the plant was called “mary-greens” due to the resemblance it had to young grass.
When planting, care must be taken to prevent the roots of the plants from spreading out. This is easily accomplished by digging a hole with the end of a stick, filling it with soil, and then pinning the plants in place. Aphids, scale insects, spider mites, root flies and aphids can all attack the young shoots and roots of this fast-growing herb. To prevent these insects from damaging your plants, be sure to use an insecticide on the young shoots and roots before planting.
The best time to grow Artemisia Absinthium is late spring through early summer, or late winter through early spring. Full sun is preferred; but, if you live in an area where it snows, move your plants inside during those times when there is no threat of snow. It will grow well even in pots because the leaves will remain partially submerged in the potting medium. You should dig the holes for the plants about two to three inches deep, placing the holes about three to four inches apart. Do not plant the plants in one layer; choose a variety that will have room to grow. In addition to the height, consider the time of year you are planting them, since the plants usually bloom during the most favorable times of the year.
Once you have selected your spot and have the ground prepared, prepare your plant for planting by removing all the existing leaves and roots. Trim away any excess leaves. Then, wash the soil and any rocks or gravel used in the planting process, removing all dust particles. Apply a light layer of fertilizer to the entire plant area. Then, water the plant thoroughly and place the pot in a sunny and warm location.
As soon as the herbs start to appear in the spring, they are already beginning to bloom. The first leaves appear on the second day, followed by blooming leaves on the fourth day. Artemisia absinthium has a tendency to form a deep green carpet on the leaves during late summer, which fades over time. The herb blooms for a ten-day period before losing its color and turning black-purple.