Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||sun; open, dry prairie|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||2 to 4 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
Leaves are simple and alternate, linear and narrow, 1 to 3½ inches long and 1/6 inch or less in width, upper leaves a single linear segment, lower leaves divided into 3 or more linear lobes and typically wither away by flowering time (deciduous). Surfaces are smooth or with short fine hairs. Stems are hairless, green to reddish brown, multiple from the base and much branched, the lower stem becomes stiff and woody with age the upper branches fine and spreading - wispy.
Like many of the Artemisia species, the young foliage of A. dracunulus gives off a sweet, pungent odor when crushed and is the source of the cooking herb, tarragon. It is common in remnants of dry prairie where other sage species are found and can be confused with the foliage of Field Sagewort (Artemisia campestris). However the stem and branching structure of that species is narrowly erect to pyramidal and rarely gets over 3 feet tall, whereas Tarragon is open and spreading and commonly over 3 feet, giving the appearance of a small spreading shrub.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Glacial Lakes State Park, Pope County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey, Anoka, Pope and Kandiyohi counties..
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?