Sep. 10, 2022

western mugwort, Artemisia ludoviciana

Artemisia is the genus of sagebrush. For those of us raised in earlier days, sagebrush connects us to many happy hours spent with the Lone Ranger, or Roy Rogers, or their many associates. Sagebrush are indeed bushes, while other species like this one are not woody. Without woody stems, you get to be a somewhat less evocative mugwort, or maybe wormwood. This species is also called western wormwood or, by people selling it for its decorative foliage, white sage. It is grown as a white garden accent, and that may explain the most eastern occurrences which are garden escapes. This widespread plant was much appreciated by Native Americans. The Ethnobotany Database includes 180 entries. Western mugwort was medicine, flavoring, and often bedding, packing and sachets because of the strong sage aroma. This species is now known in all states except AK, AL, and HI, and in AB, BC, MB, NB, NT, ON, PE, QC, and SK. Lenawee Co MI, 9/19/10. Aster family, Asreraceae.