Artemisia vulgaris characteristics, habitat, uses, cultivation, diseases

Basil Manning
Artemisia vulgaris characteristics, habitat, uses, cultivation, diseases

The Artemisia vulgaris it is an aromatic plant, although it can behave like a weed. It belongs to the Asteraceae family and is commonly known as mugwort, common wormwood, felon grass, chrysanthemum grass, and wild wormwood..

It is an erect perennial herb, measuring a little over 1.5 m at times. It has both petiolate and sessile leaves. There is a lot of variety in terms of colors in nature, from deep green to pale green. The flowers are yellowish and the fruits are cypselas.

Artemisia vulgaris. Source:

This species of mugwort is considered one of the ten worst weeds that affect nurseries. It is a dicotyledonous plant of Eurasian origin, whose propagation occurs very quickly once its rhizome system extends. Control of this weed, both chemically and culturally, is difficult to achieve.

Common wormwood is a plant with a significant allelopathic effect in nature. The radical exudates inhibit the growth of other nearby plants, and even inhibit the growth of some pathogenic bacteria. This physiological property makes it more competitive in nature, so this effect could be considered as the basis for the success of its establishment..

It has a strong and resinous flavor, similar to that of chrysanthemum leaves. It is used in soups or sofrito as a garnish, to prepare tea, and its dried leaves serve as a good tinder to make bonfires.

This kind of mugwort is used as an antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, digestive, to relieve menstrual pain, relaxing, purgative, among others. The most used part is the leaves.

Article index

  • 1 Features
    • 1.1 Appearance
    • 1.2 Sheets
    • 1.3 Flower
    • 1.4 Fruit
    • 1.5 Allelopathic effect
  • 2 Taxonomy
  • 3 Habitat and distribution
  • 4 Uses
  • 5 Cultivation
    • 5.1 Sowing
    • 5.2 Soil
    • 5.3 Light
    • 5.4 Humidity
    • 5.5 Temperature
    • 5.6 Precautions
  • 6 Diseases
  • 7 References



It is a perennial plant with a height between 60 and 190 cm and fast growth, considered as aromatic. It has thick rhizomes and numerous erect brown, brown or reddish stems.


The basal leaves are petiolate and the others are sessile. They can be of a uniform green color, or present a bicolor. Leaf-blades can also be lanceolate, ovate, or linear..

Its size is between 3 and 10 cm long and 1.8 to 8 cm wide. The leaves are also pinnate and have lobes 20 mm wide, they may present pubescence or they may not have trichomes..

Artemisia vulgaris grows like a weed and is an invasive plant. Source: wikimedia commons.


The flowers are hermaphroditic and have 7 to 10 pistils. The corollas are yellowish or reddish brown. They measure between 1.5 and 3 mm.

Flowering occurs from mid-summer to late fall. Pollination occurs by wind action.


The fruit is an ellipsoidal cypsela measuring 0.5 to 1 mm, it is devoid of pubescence and sometimes resinous..

Allelopathic effect

Artemisia vulgaris it is an allelopathic species of which the mechanisms it uses as interference are little known. The allelopathic effect of this mugwort is reported to be increasing.

One of the components that are known as a shrub inhibitor in California are terpenes. Likewise, several monoterpenes are responsible for inhibiting the growth of roots and shoots of seedlings with specific cytotoxic substances..

Cytotoxic effects include decreased mitochondrial organelles, and Golgi vesicles. The inhibition of respiration and the photosynthetic process is also another of the effects, as well as the decrease in the permeability of the cell wall. On the other hand, they increase the oxidative destruction of photosynthetic pigments..

Other species of mugwort that produce allelopathic effects are species with terpenoid substances such as Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia californica, Artemisia princeps var. orientalis, Artemisia tridentata.

Due to this allelopathic action, it can also be used as an insect repellent. In fact, the essential oil of this plant damages the larvae of insects.


-Kingdom: Plantae

-Phylum: Tracheophyta

-Class: Magnoliopsida

-Order: Asterales

-Family: Asteraceae

-Gender: Artemisia

-Species: Artemisia vulgaris L.

-This species has some synonyms like Opulent Artemisia, Artemisia vulgaris var. glabrous Y Artemisia vulgaris var. kamtschatica.

Some subspecies are known as Artemisia vulgaris subsp. flooded, Artemisia vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, and the variety Artemisia vulgaris var. xizangensis.

There is a variability between populations reflected in the size of the heads of the inflorescences and the general color of the plant (which can be from pale green to dark green).

Habitat and distribution

It grows in sandy or clay soils, with good drainage. It is close to forests, coastlines, roadsides. It is distributed from 0 to 500 meters above sea level. It is common to find it forming dense monospecific stands on fallow land.

It is an introduced species in many countries, and is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Eurasia. It is widely established in eastern North America, and generally in the northern hemisphere including Great Britain. Also grows as a weed in disturbed places.

It is also found in other places such as Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, among others..

Because its cultural or chemical control is difficult to carry out, this plant species has spread aggressively, rapidly colonizing the eastern United States..

Artemisia vulgaris grows frequently in disturbed terrain. Source: Wikimedia commons.


The leaves of this plant are eaten raw or cooked. They have an aromatic effect and their taste is somewhat bitter. For good digestion purposes it is recommended to add it to the diet. This plant is often used in small amounts to flavor fatty foods.

Also, this plant is used to flavor meatballs. The dried leaves and flowers are used to make tea. Another use is that they are used to make beer.

The medicinal use of this plant should always be consulted with a specialist. However, throughout history it has been used as a medicinal herb to improve digestive processes, menstrual cramps and as a dewormer. All parts of this plant are known as anthelmintic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, digestive, emmenagogue, purgative, stimulant, and tonic..

The leaves are consumed as diuretics, hemostats, aperitifs, and for digestion. The infusion of these leaves is used to treat nervous system problems, infertility, asthma, uterine problems, and brain diseases..

Its leaves also have antibacterial action since they inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus typhi, Bacillus dysenteriae, streptococci, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas, among others. On the other hand, it is known that the stem works as an antirheumatic, antispasmodic and to relieve digestive problems. The roots, meanwhile, are used as tonic and antispasmodic.

A very traditional use of the leaves is that they are placed inside the shoes and it is said that they can soothe the pain of the feet. The dried leaves and stems are used in moxibustion in Chinese therapies.

Otherwise, the dry fallen leaves can serve as tinder to light bonfires or any type of fire. The leaves and flowers serve as food for some butterflies and moths.


Mugwort is characterized by being an invasive plant and inhibiting the growth of other nearby plants through radical exudates. Of these sagebrush the subspecies A. vulgaris subsp. parviflora it is the one with the highest consumption in China.

Other varieties such as "White" is one of the tallest of this type and grows more than 1.5 m.


It can be made from seeds. To do this, it is sown on the surface in the winter to early summer and under greenhouse conditions. In the nursery it is important to take care that the compost or substrate does not dry out.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle them, they should be transplanted into individual pots, and if the size is sufficient to ensure their survival, they should be planted in their final position..

If it is from cuttings, the basals can be taken in late spring. To do this, young shoots should be taken when they are 10 to 15 cm long. When these shoots have taken root, they can be transplanted to their final place..

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The Artemisia vulgaris grows in light, well-drained soils (sandy or clayey). Soil pH can range from acid soils to very alkaline soils (4.8 to 8.2).

Plants achieve a more aromatic property and are more resistant when grown in poor, dry soil conditions..


These plants can grow in semi-shade or in clearings in the woods.


The soil can remain both dry and moist and not affect the plant. In addition, this plant species can tolerate drought.


It is a species resistant to frost. The leaves are harvested in August and then they are put to dry for later use.

Inflorescences of Artemisia vulgaris. Source: H. Zell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]


This species of mugwort is a plant that becomes poisonous in large doses. Any contact with the skin can cause dermatitis in some allergic people.

Pregnant women should not consume this plant as it can cause stimulation of the uterus, even to the point of producing an abortion, especially during the first trimester..

In the same way, its prolonged consumption and in high doses can damage the nervous system..


The Artemisia vulgaris It can be attacked by diseases caused by fungi, and as regards pests, it can be affected by aphids and coccoids..

In nature there is a lot of variability in terms of the leaf morphology of this mugwort. Source: R. A. Nonenmacher [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]


  1. Barney, J., hay, A., Weston, L. 2005. Isolation and characterization of allelopathic volatiles from mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Journal of Chemical Ecology 31 (2): 247-265.
  2. Flora of North America. 2019. Artemisia vulgaris Linnaeus. Taken from:
  3. Catalog of Life: 2019 Annual Checklist. Species details Artemisia vulgaris L. Taken from:
  4. Plants For A Future. (1996-2012). Artemisia vulgaris - L. Taken from:
  5. Tropics. 2019. Artemisia vulgaris. Taken from:
  6. PĂ©rez, M. 2012. Artemisia vulgaris. Taken from:

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