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ARTEMISIA vulgaris

Image of Artemisia vulgaris

James H. Schutte

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

ARTEMISIA vulgaris

Plant Common Name

Common Wormwood, Mugwort

General Description

Put this weedy plant in the same classification as notorious weeds like Canadian thistle, star thistle, spotted knapweed and others. It is a bear of a plant that is next to impossible to get rid of once it takes hold. Plants aggressively spread via underground stems called rhizomes that form large matted colonies—even the smallest rhizome left in the ground will result in a new plant. The name “vulgaris” means common and this plant is common because it is a pest. Can you tell this is not one of our favorites?

Common Wormwood is an herbaceous perennial that originates from areas across Europe, Africa, Asia and arguably northwestern North America. It has naturalized as an invasive species across many parts of North America. Its green foliage is deeply dissected and fragrant, and plants produce many inconspicuous, tiny, wind-pollinated flowers in summer. There are some cultivated forms of common wormwood, such as the variegated Oriental Limelight, but all are almost as aggressive at wild plants and should only be grown in above-ground planters that will keep them contained.

Obnoxiously tough, common wormwood will tolerate the worst conditions and beatings imaginable—from repeated herbicide sprayings to yanking, pulling and stomping. The only way to get rid of it is to either manually dig it out—-making sure no roots remain—-or to smother it with hot, black, mulch cloth for a season.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Alaska, Europe, Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes