Artemis Reawakens

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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.

artemisia abrotanum

2 thoughts on “Artemis Reawakens”

  1. ella says:

    There is nothing so exotic here, but the winter garlic tops are still growing, to be cut for seasoning, as well as the sweet onions. Semi-wild Dandelions are pushing their tender leaves up to mix with the garlic tops.

  2. Marshall alum -Vietnam vet says:

    Are you familiar with White Snake root? It grows all over Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, PA, Tennessee and Kentucky. It is the plant that poisoned the milk of dairy cows and caused “Milk Sickness” in humans. Milk Sickness took the life of Abraham Lincoln’s mother! It wasn’t until the 1920’s that White Snake root was identified as the cause of “milk sickness.” Wikipedia has good info and pictures of the plant. Milk Sickness disappeared because diary cows were better fenced in open fields and the White Snake root plant only grows in shade with a lot of water—think forests. So, the dairy cows couldn’t get to the plant to eat it. Dairy cows have 4 stomachs, which protects them from the poison—Tremetol, in the White Snake root plant. But their calves could, and did, get sick from the poison. White Snake root is a good example to teach children not to pick any forest plants and eat them, unless they can identify the plant. Anyone who picks and eats the mushrooms that look like umbrellas in woods and fields is asking for trouble. Some are OK, but some are very deadly. It’s difficult to tell the difference. Stick with the Morel mushrooms found growing on tree bark.

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