2014 Herb of the Year
Commonly called wormwoods, the genus Artemisia are members of the great family of Compositae and consist of 180 species, one of which, tarragon (A. dracunculus) claims a place in many herb gardens. The whole family is remarkable for the extreme bitterness of all parts of the plant, "as bitter as Wormwood is a very ancient proverb. In some Western states there are large tracts almost entirely destitute of other vegetation than certain kinds of Artemisia, which cover vast plains. The plants are of no use as forage and the few wild animals that feed on them are said to have, when eaten, a bitter taste. They also abound in the arid soil of the Tartarean steppes and other similar locations.
The genus is named for Artemisia from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana.