Name that Artemisia

I purchased this Artemisia plant a few years ago from a delightful man at the farmer’s market. He spoke very little English and couldn’t tell me the name of the plant–only that in Mexico (where he is from) they use it as a tea for stomach trouble. The Artemisia family is so rambling that I’m having trouble deciding just which one it is–and now I’m beginning to wonder, is positive identification possible? But here are some photos at various stages of growth.

This is what the plant looks like in my yard right now. It will get MUCH bigger, very soon.


This picture was taken June 15 of last year:


As you can see, the older leaves aren’t nearly as divided as the younger. And finally, this picture was taken in mid to late September, when the plant was in full bloom and about 7 feet tall:


Sorry for the poor quality.

My closest guess right now is that it’s a form of Artemisa ludoviciana, a plant that is apparently deeply valued in the Southwest of the U.S. and in Mexico, but I’m not very confident in my guess. Any takers?

I especially want to know if the plant is safe to burn for smudging purposes. It has a very sage-brushy smell, but I know some Artemisia’s can be a bit much when burned and I don’t want to make myself or anyone else ill. And while I COULD experiment on myself, I’d still like to know what it is.


7 thoughts on “Name that Artemisia

  1. It’s not A. absinthium, I have that growing in my garden too and they don’t look at all alike when they get big! What IS it with me and mystery plants anyway? 🙂

  2. Well, I’m not sure of much! Only I thought mugwort leaves are dark on the top and pale on the bottom? These are uniformly pale grey-green, more like wormwood, but the leaf shape is very much like mugwort.

  3. yup, looks exactly like the a ludoviciana that I harvested in the SW deserts. It always grew near water, and i think size depends on just how much water it got. It could get pretty big, but I never saw it 7 ft tall. But, water was the limiting factor in arizona, only availoable seasonally in the spring.
    Totally safe to smudge with, but smells a like marijuana. Safe for tea, for oil, and effective for dream work.

  4. Greetings Greenwoman –
    I would say it’s either Artemisia Tridentata or it’s sister Artemesia Ludoviciana; as you have already guessed. Like darcey says it’s good for dream work, smudging (also sometimes called northern white sage and used by Dakota Indians)and I have tinctured it for use similar to their other sister – A. absinthe with very good results, particularly with lyme disease.
    Green Blessings

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