Southern Wormwood, Artemisia abrotanum, is opening up early in the garden this year, after only three months of seclusion within the dry twigs of last year’s growth.
It is also known as Maid’s Ruin, and was traditionally given, amongst the flowers of a bouquet, to women by men seeking to court.
Its flowers are barely noticeable, but the leaves of the plant have a pleasant smell with touches of citrus. The scent comes from volatile oils, including absinthol, which also repels moths and other insects.
It can also make a nice herbal tea, or a flavoring to food.
Southern Wormwood is perennial, growing between two and four feet tall, depending upon the specific conditions where it is planted, and can be divided by the roots to spread its joy. It is indigenous to Spain and Italy.