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Artemisia dracunculus - L.                
                 
Common Name Tarragon, French Tarragon
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people[222].
Habitats By rivers and streams[244]. Grassland and arid steppe.
Range S. Europe to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Artemisia dracunculus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-8


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Artemisia dracunculus Tarragon,  French Tarragon


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Cillas
Artemisia dracunculus Tarragon,  French Tarragon
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KENPEI
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves - raw or used as a flavouring in soups etc[2, 4, 14, 21, 37]. Tarragon is a commonly used herbal flavouring that is used in many traditional recipes[244]. It is particularly of value because of its beneficial effect upon the digestion and so is often used with oily foods[244]. The leaves can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use[4]. The aromatic leaves have a very nice flavour that is somewhat liquorice-like[183, K]. They make an excellent flavouring in salads[K]. The young shoots can also be cooked and used as a potherb[183]. The leaves are used as a flavouring in vinegar[4]. An essential oil from the leaves is used as a flavouring[61].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiscorbutic;  Appetizer;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Febrifuge;  Hypnotic;  Odontalgic;  Stomachic;  Vermifuge.

Tarragon is a bitter warming aromatic herb that stimulates the digestive system and uterus, lowers fevers and destroys intestinal worms[238]. It is little used in modern herbalism, though it is sometimes employed as an appetizer[268]. The leaves (and an essential oil obtained from them) are antiscorbutic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic and stomachic[21, 146, 179, 238]. An infusion is used in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, nausea, hiccups etc[244]. The plant is mildly sedative and has been taken to aid sleep[254]. It also has mild emmenagogue properties and can be used to induce a delayed period[254]. A poultice can be used to relieve rheumatism, gout, arthritis and toothache[244]. The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use[238]. This herb should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. The root has been used to cure toothache[4]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat digestive and menstrual problems[238].
Other Uses
Essential;  Repellent.

The leaves contain about 0.3% essential oil, about 70% of which is methyl chivacol[240]. This is used as a food flavouring, in detergents and also medicinally[61, 238]. Both the growing and the dried plant repels insects[99].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Container, Seashore. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a warm sunny dry position[1, 37, 52, 200]. Plants are not very long-lived when grown in clay soils[190]. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil[245]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190, 200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.8. Plants are relatively hardy in Britain, but can be killed in wet winters. It is best to grow tarragon in a dry, rather poor soil since this will produce hardier plants[4]. The dry soil will also help to reduce predation by slugs, these creatures are very fond of the young growth and have been known to completely destroy even well-established plants[K]. When well suited, the plants can spread freely at the roots[K]. The flowers do not open in cool summers and viable seed is seldom produced[238]. Often grown in the herb garden, tarragon is also sometimes grown commercially for its edible leaves which are used mainly as a flavouring[46]. There is at least one named variety, 'Epicure' is a new fragrant cultivar[183]. There is a closely related species, A. dracunculoides or Russian tarragon, which is quite inferior in flavour, though sometimes supplied under this name. A good companion for most plants, especially aubergines and sweet peppers[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Special Features: Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. Fertile seed is rarely produced from this plant - most if not all seed supplied under this name is of the inferior form, Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides). Therefore, it is best to only propagate by division. Division is very easy in spring or autumn[K]. The divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up first and grow them on in a cold frame until they have rooted well. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest young shoots about 10 - 15c long and pot them up in a lightly shaded place in a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions when well rooted. A very quick and easy method of propagation[K].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
50200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[52]Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round.
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[99]Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology.
Excellent and readable guide.
[146]Gamble. J. S. A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Written last century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[190]Chatto. B. The Dry Garden.
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.

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Subject : Artemisia dracunculus  
             

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