Artemisia vulgaris (Common Mugwort)
|Also known as:||Common Wormwood|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties.
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