Artemisia vulgaris/Mugwort

Artemisia vulgaris/Mugwort
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Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort or Common Wormwood) is one of several species in the genus Artemisia with names containing mugwort. It is also occasionally known as Felon Herb, Chrysanthemum Weed, Wild Wormwood, or St. John’s Plant (not to be confused with St John’s wort). It is called Mogusa or Yomogi in Japan. It is native to temperate Europe, Asia and northern Africa, but is also present in North America where it is an invasive weed. It is a very common plant growing on nitrogenous soils, like weedy and uncultivated areas, such as waste places and roadsides.

Mugwort is a different species from Wormwood, but of the same genus, and containing some of the same chemical components. The Mugwort is closely allied to the Common Wormwood, but may be readily distinguished by the leaves being white on the under-surfaces only and by the leaf segments being pointed, not blunt. It lacks some of the essential oils of the Wormwood.

It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant growing 1-2 m (rarely 2.5 m) tall, with a woody root. The leaves are 5-20 cm long, dark green, pinnate, with dense white tomentose hairs on the underside. The erect stem often has a red-purplish tinge. The rather small flowers (5 mm long) are radially symmetrical with many yellow or dark red petals. The narrow and numerous capitula (flower heads) spread out in racemose panicles. It flowers from July to September.

A number of species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) feed on the leaves and flowers; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Artemisia for details.

Mugwort is often said to derive from the word ‘mug’ because it was used in flavoring drinks. However, this may be a folk etymology. Other sources say Mugwort is derived from the old Germanic muggiwurti, meaning “fly or knat plant”, which refers to its use since ancient times to repel insects, especially moths.[1]

Mugwort is called chornobyl in Ukrainian, and has given its name to the abandoned city of Chornobyl (Chernobyl in Russian).

There are other species in the genus Artemisia called mugwort:

Some images of Artemisia vulgaris/Mugwort