This amazing shrub is a tall herbaceous perennial with a woody root. The leaves are smooth with a dark green tint on the upper surface, but covered with a dense cottony down beneath. The erect stem often has a red-purplish tinge.
It has been known since ancient times with a multitude of medicinal uses, it is one of the nine Saxon magic herbs. Mugwort has a mellow sage-like aroma and has strong bittering properties. Long before hops became the just about the only herb used to make beer, many different herbs and spices were used, and mugwort was often the brewer’s choice.
The Mugwort is closely allied to the Artemisia absinthe but is distinguished by the leaves being white on the under-surfaces and by the leaf segments being pointed, not blunt. It lacks the essential oil of the Wormwood.
Sowing: Sow in late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn.
Surface sow the seeds in pots or trays containing a good quality seed compost. Do not cover as they need light to germinate. Stand the containers in water to moisten and place in a polythene bag or cover with plastic.
The seeds need cold weather to break down germination inhibitors. This process, called stratification, can be left to nature or hastened by copying nature:
Place the container in a polythene bag and put into the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 2 weeks. After this time place the containers outside in a cold frame or plunge them up to the rims in a shady part of the garden border.
The Natural Method:
Place the seed container outside against a north wall or in a cold frame and leave them there until the spring. If the seed containers are out in the open then some shelter has to be given against excessive rain.
In the spring bring the seed containers into the greenhouse or indoors on to a well lit but not sunny windowsill and keep the compost moist. This should trigger off germination.
Transplant the seedlings when large enough to handle into pots and grow on. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Space 30cm (12in). Water regularly until mature.
Although frost has little effect on Mugwort, the herb is generally pruned in autumn. It self-seeds easily when happy, so deadhead it if you don't want seedlings. Once they are established, they are easy to propagate by dividing the rhizomes in the early spring, before the plant leafs out.
Harvest before the first frost and dry in the shade or hang in the house to dry.
Mugwort is botanically related to tarragon, and in addition to being made into tea, is employed as an aromatic culinary herb, such as in stuffing for roasted geese.
The mugwort is known to be milder in action than most other species of Artemisia and has a large number of uses. It has been traditionally used to treat digestive disorders, and used as a tonic for various remedies.
The Chinese have been using mugwort for centuries, and one of its best known uses is in the ancient art of acupuncture and is one of the main ingredients in ‘moxa’ or ‘moxibustion’.
Various species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) feed on the leaves and flowers.
The fresh or the dried plant repels insects. A weak tea made from the infused plant is a good all-purpose insecticide.
Artemisia species provide a wonderful range of greens from baby's breath to nettle green..
Mugwort is usually regarded as a native plant but there are many parts of the British Isles where it is met with under suspicious conditions that doubts arise as to whether it is really indigenous.
The writers of a considerable number of floras consider that it may have been introduced in times long past. It is often found near houses in circumstances which suggest that at one time it was cultivated as it had a high medicinal reputation it is not surprising that this was the case.
Taking all the evidence into consideration, it very probable that artemisia was one of the first herbs cultivated by man and that he took it with him on his travels.
The genus name artemisia ultimately derives from the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana), the namesake of Greek Queens Artemisia I and II. A more specific reference may be to Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. The genus includes over 400 plants, including the delectable herb tarragon.
Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC. She was the sister, the wife, (yes, that is correct) and the successor of Greek/Persian King Mausolus.Because of her grief for her brother-husband, and the extravagant and downright bizarre forms it took, she became to later ages "a lasting example of chaste widowhood and of the purest and rarest kind of love", in the words of Giovanni Boccaccio. In art she was usually shown in the process of consuming his ashes, mixed with drink. To perpetuate his memory she built at Halicarnassus the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and whose name subsequently became the generic term for any splendid sepulchral monument, the word mausoleum.
The species name vulgaris simply means 'common', the most common form of the plant.
The common name of mugwort is derived from its use in warding off insects: the etymology is from the West German word muggiwurti from muggio for "midge" or "fly", and wurti for "plant."
Doesn't the word Mugwort just sound like a witch's plant? It was once able to arouse a host of strange ideas, magical conceptions and sacred associations amongst our forefathers and was often called 'Mater Herbarum' meaning 'Mother Of Herbs'. It is sometimes referred to as Croneswort because it's an old folk belief that it springs up at the doorsteps of healers.
This ancient plant has many old English names including Mucgwyrt, Mogwort, mughworde, muguart and muggerwarte. These days, common names include: Common artemisia, Wild wormwood, French tobacco, Mugweed, Carline thistle, Felon herb and Wild chrysanthemum.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 125mg Average Seed Count 1,100 Seeds Common Name Mugwort Other Language Names IR. Mongach meisce Family Asteraceae Genus Artemisia Species vulgaris Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Small, yellow panicles in July to September. Foliage Dark-green, deeply dissected Height 3-4m (36-48in) Spread 30cm (12in) Position Full sun or partial shade Soil Prefers slightly alkaline, well-drained loamy soil Notes Herb