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April 2011
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Artemisia abrotanum – also known as Southernwood

Artemisia abrotanum which is also known as Southernwood is a small bushy shrub. It is a flowering plant and a perennial herb that can grow up to a height of 5 feet. It is a native of Europe. It is named after the goddess Artemis. This plant is also known by other names like Old Man, Boy’s Love, Oldman Wormwood, Lover’s Plant, Appleringie, Garderobe, Our Lord’s Wood, Maid’s Ruin, Garden Sagebrush, European Sage, Lad’s Love, Sitherwood and Lemon Plant.
This plant is used as an antiseptic, kills intestinal worms, as a herbalist Culpeper to encourage menstruation, to treat frostbite, to stimulate the gallbladder and bile to improve digestion and liver functions, in aromatic baths, to counter sleepiness, an infusion of the leaves as a natural insect repellent, as a hair rinse to combat dandruff.
Its leaves are rubbed on the face for growth of beard too and also used for younger men to combat impotence (as believed by the Romans). It is used in handmade cosmetics. It is also known to be used in dyes, to keep moths away, as an incense, to drive away the snakes by using its smoke. The pungent leaves are used in teas and shoots that are young are used in pastry and puddings flavoring. It is also a culinary herb.
The leaves are narrow, small and grey-green in color and its flowers are greenish-yellowish-white in color. The flowers appear in loose clusters and bloom from late summer. The leaves are feathery and fine. The plant is used in flower Arrangements and crafts.

Growing conditions for Artemisia abrotanum:

• Transplant the young plants in the garden in the spring or summer.
• Divide the plants in the spring.
• This plant needs full sun.
• It can grow well in zones 4 to 8.
• This plant needs well drained soil.
• Add compost of about ½ inch.
• Add mulch around the plant in the spring.
• Water such that soil is a little dry between watering.
• The plant should be space about 2 to 4 feet apart.
• If the soil is not well drained then root rot is possible.

Care for Artemesia abrotanum:

• Plant in a sunny location.
• This Wormwood needs full sun to partial shade.
• Wormwood is not affected by many diseases or pests.
• Do not keep the plant wet or soggy as it develops root rot.
• Prune the plant and divide 2-3 years.
• Mulch the plant around to about 2-3 inch.
• This is to retain moisture and to maintain soil temperature.
• Fertilize once a year.

Images of this plant can be seen at this link.

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