Artemisia absinthium, Absinth Wormwood

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener December 16, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Artemisia absinthium, Absinth Wormwood

Absinth wormwood (absinthium, common wormwood) is an invasive herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. It has many branching stems arising from a woody base. Leaves are alternate, gray-green, 1 to 4 in. (2.5 to 10 cm) long, and give off a strong sage-like scent when crushed. Lower leaves are divided into two to three segments, and the upper leaves are not divided. Flowering occurs in midsummer when pale yellow tubular flowers develop in drooping heads in the axils of the leaves. A single plant can produce 50,000 seeds. Absinth wormwood invades open and disturbed sites such as pastures, rangelands, crop land, stream banks, prairies, and old fields. The plant is native to Europe and was first introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Asterales > Asteraceae > Artemisia absinthium L.

Synonym(s): absinthium

Artemisia absinthium - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Absinth wormwood - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States. (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

An invasive herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall.

absinth wormwood absinth wormwood
Chris Evans, University of Illinois,., bugwood.org Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are alternate, gray-green, 1 to 4 in. (2.5 to 10 cm) long, and give off a strong sage-like scent when crushed. Lower leaves are divided into two to three segments, and the upper leaves are not divided.

absinth wormwood absinth wormwood

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

              Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in midsummer when pale yellow tubular flowers develop in drooping heads in the axils of the leaves.

absinth wormwood

absinth wormwood

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

Fruit

A single plant can produce 50,000 seeds.

absinth wormwood absinth wormwood
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Absinth Wormwood

Artemisia ludoviciana, Louisiana wormwood - Images at invasive.org

Louisiana wormwood (Artemisia ludoviciana) Louisiana wormwood (Artemisia ludoviciana)
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org

 

Artemisia campestris, common sagewort - Images at invasive.org

common sagewort common sagewort
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, bugwood.org Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired)
, bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Absinth Wormwood

Absinth wormwood - Images at Invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Absinth Wormwood

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service

Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy

Fact Sheet - Missouri Botanical Garden

Invasive.org - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Fact Sheet - Colorado Department of Agriculture

Absinth Wormwood - North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Absinth Wormwood - Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.