Wild Tarragon, Tarragon
Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)
Tarragon grows in clusters of thin, tall (1.5 to 4ft), reddish colored, often slightly hairy stems with thin, fragrant, linear leaves extending from the base to the tip. It has an extensive branched root system.Habit:
The southern Yukon and Alaska to New Mexico and east to the Mississippi River. It is also found in a few New England states. It is considered a weed and spreads easily.
There are over 20 species of sagebrush or wormwood (Artemesia) in our area. Tarragon is distinctive in having dark green narrow entire leaves and a tall narrow stature.
Is one of the first plant to return after an area has been burned. The roots are able to survive the fire and instantly regenerate after it is out. Tarragon was first recorded by the Greeks in 500BC as one of the "simple remedies" used in their medicine. It was thought it could draw venom from snake bites and sooth bug bites. The commercial spice, tarragon, is derived from the same species, but has a different flavor since it has been bred from tarragon in France.
The Chippiwa people used the root to aid the mother during difficult child labor. The leaves were chew to ease heart palpitations. They also used them to scent their bath water and to give strength to their elders. The Shuswap burned the herb to keep mosquitoes away. Today tarragon is used for its essential oils, as a common cooking spice and medicinally as a diuretic, to sooth stomach aches and as an antifungal. The root was used by the pioneers as a cure for tooth aches .
It has many small, branching, greenish to white flowers
Each flower produces one small dry seed in the fall but it also regenerates by sending out its fibrous roots as runners.
Alternate. Long 1/2 to3in (2-llcm), narrow, slightly hairy to hairless, dark, green leaves.
Warm, sunny, dry plains, grasslands or foothills at moderate elevations. It is common in disturbed areas but does not tolerate poorly drained soils.