Family: Asteraceae (Compositae), Artemisia abrotanum L.
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum L., is an erect-growing
perennial shrub native to southern Europe and valued as both an
ornamental and aromatic plant. Formerly classified as Artemisia
procera Willd., this showy, pleasant-smelling species
is also grown in the eastern portion of the United States. Reaching
a height of 2 meters, the plant is characterized by its many branches,
gray-green aromatic leaves, and rarely blooming yellow-white
The reported life zone of southernwood is 7 to 19 degrees centigrade
with an annual precipitation of 0.4 to 1.3 meters and soil pH
of 5.6 to 7.6 (4.1-31). The plant thrives in good soil and
Although primarily grown as an ornamental, the plant has an essential
or volatile oil containing absinthol (11.1-50). The lemon-scented
leaves and flowers are sometimes used in herbal teas. Young shoots
have been used to flavor pastries and puddings (14.1-23).
Branches are used to produce a dye of deep yellow color for use
with wool (11.1-50).
As a medicinal plant, southernwood was traditionally considered
an antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stimulant,
tonic, stomachic, and vermifuge. It has also been used against
coughs, tumors, and cancers (14.1-13). Southernwood is thought
to be an insect and moth repellent.
Field southernwood, Artemisia campestris L., is a native
of Europe and Asia that is used locally as a medicinal plant.
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in
full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997