Artemisia vulgaris (Common Mugwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Wormwood
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil; waste areas, roadsides, disturbed natural areas
Bloom season:July - October
Plant height:1.5 to 6.5 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: UPL MW: UPL NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Flowers are numerous, arising in short, erect racemes or branching clusters (panicles) in the upper leaf axils. The flower heads are small and indistinct, 1/8 inch across, petal-less, short stalked or stalkless, egg shaped, erect to drooping. Flower parts are yellow to reddish brown, with 7 to 10 pale yellow, thread-like pistils extending out from the center. Bracts, stalks and stems are light green from frosty hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 1 to 4½ inches long, up to 3 inches wide, deeply divided into finger-like, wedge or spatula-shaped lobes along the central vein; the lobes may be coarsely toothed but are more often toothless. Lower leaves are stalked, often with 1 or 2 small lobes at base. Upper leaves are smaller, often undivided, and more linear in the flower clusters. Upper leaf surface dark green and smooth, lower surface white from short, dense matted hairs. The leaves give off a pungent aromatic odor when crushed. Stems are multiple from the ground, mostly smooth and unbranched in the lower plant, often reddish colored, becoming much branched with short, matted hairs in the flower cluster.


Though likely under-reported in Minnesota, Common Mugwort is not yet widespread in the state, but it is considered invasive in other parts of North America. It is used as an herb in European cooking, such as the stuffing in the traditional German Christmas goose. The flowers look like those of other Artemisia species but the large, divided leaves make it easy to distinguish from the rest.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Abbey - Northeast Minneapolis
on: 2014-06-14 09:06:46

I'm pretty sure this is the weed that pops up every year abundant in my northeast minneapolis yard, as well as that of my neighbor's yard.

Posted by: Gary - Cook County
on: 2018-10-19 19:29:55

I thought I saw a single plant of this species in a weedy lot in Moose Lake a while back. It was not aromatic so it may be a different Artemisia species. I have seen another mugwort species, Artemisia stelleriana I think, in Cook County along parts of HWY 61, in Grand Marais in a parking lot and on the Gunflint Trail. I also recently saw it in Duluth. The plants all appear to be naturalized not planted. As far as I have been able to find out this species is native to North America but only on the Aleutian Islands. The species is more widespread in China, Japan, Korea, and far eastern Russia.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-10-20 06:38:30

Gary, we've seen Artemisia stelleriana (dusty miller) around Duluth and along Hwy 61, too. This year we collected a specimen for the herbarium, near Grand Marais I think.

Posted by: Ian - City of Winona
on: 2020-05-05 19:42:44

This started coming up in my yard a few years ago

Posted by: Sara Grace-Heron - Litchfield MN
on: 2021-06-22 17:51:16

Found it planted in the garden of the house I recently purchased.

Posted by: Ronald sung - Blooomington
on: 2022-07-29 19:06:54

A former neighbor planted a lot of Korean mugwort. Seems unstoppable in my backyard. Seems to be spreading everywhere. Should we try and remove?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-07-30 07:19:42

Ronald, is there a reason why you wouldn't want to remove it from your yard? You should also consider talking to your neighbor about the problem.

Posted by: Andy - Minneapolis
on: 2024-05-26 18:43:12

This plant was growing in my yard these past 5 years in a very dry, part-shade area. It was a pretty light sage green color and aromatic, so I left it--thinking it might be some type of sage. But this Spring it suddenly became colony-size with a hefty root system. After I confirmed on here that it's common mugwort, I immediately yanked it all out. It was crowding everything else out.

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