Artemisia absinthium
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: wormwood 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eurasia, northern Africa
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Yellowish-gray
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Best grown in poor to moderately fertile, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Excellent soil drainage is essential for growing this plant well. Does poorly in moist to wet soils where plants are susceptible to root rot. Plant stems tend to lodge in summer, especially if grown in fertile soils and/or part shade. General foliage decline commonly occurs in climates with high summer rainfall and in climates with high summer humidity such as the St. Louis area. Consider pinching back stems in late spring to reduce mature plant height and to prevent legginess. If foliage declines or stems flop in summer, plants may be sheared to revitalize. Promptly deadhead flowers to prevent any unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Artemisia absinthium, commonly called absinthe or wormwood, is a woody-based perennial that is grown for its attractive silver-gray foliage that adds interesting texture and contrast to gardens. It typically forms a clump of generally erect, non-woody, hairy, gray-green stems to 2-3’ tall. Stems are clad with deeply-incised, pinnately-divided, silvery-green leaves (to 2-5” long) covered with silky-white hairs. Foliage is highly aromatic when bruised. The tiny, somewhat inconspicuous, yellowish-gray, discoid flower heads (rays absent), which appear in dense, leafy, drooping panicles at the stem ends in summer, have little ornamental value. This species is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe and Asia, but has naturalized in parts of the United States, most notably in New England. Foliage is similar to that of A. vulgaris, except much more aromatic. Absinthium means without sweetness in reference to the extremely bitter taste of the plant juices. After many years, a 1912 ban on using absinthe in the U.S. was finally overtuned on March 5, 2007. Jade Liquors, LLC a distiller of premier absinthe located in Saumur, France states, "Since 2007, genuine absinthe has again been legal in the USA, and genuine products are distilled from whole plants, and never from artificial flavorings."

Genus is named for Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon, wild animals and hunting.

Specific epithet is the Latin and pre-Linnaean name for wormwood.


Foliage may decline and plant stems may flop in summer. Susceptible to root rot in moist soils, particularly poorly drained ones.


Silver foliage provides excellent contrast to flowering plants and green foliage in beds, borders and herb gardens. Also can be effective in rock gardens. Good selection for areas with poor dry soils.