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Common Wormwood

Artemisia absinthium

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Gardens, grassland, roadsides, wasteland.

Yellow, no petals
Tiny yellow flowers, 3 to 5mm across. The flowers are flatter than those of the similar looking Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Pollinated by the wind.
A small achene (seed).
The leaves are silvery or greyish-green and pinnately divided. The deep leaf lobes are rounded (not pointed as in Mugwort). Leaves are white and downy on both surfaces. The stems are slightly fluted. A deciduous perennial.
The foliage is very aromatic.
Other Names:
Absinthe, Absinthe Wormwood, Absinthium, Common Wormwood, Girdle of St John, Grand Wormwood, Green Ginger, Holy Seed, Lad's Love, Mingwort, Old Man, Old Woman, St John's Girdle, Warmot, Wormwood.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Artemisia absinthium, commonly known as wormwood, is a species of perennial herb in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, typically found in wastelands, grasslands, and along roadsides. It has small, yellow or green flowers that bloom in the summer and leaves that are grayish-green and fragrant. The plant is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens, it is known for its ability to tolerate dry and poor soils, and it's tolerant to drought. The plant is best known for its use as a key ingredient in the spirit absinthe, which was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments such as respiratory problems, digestive issues and menstrual cramps, but there is not enough scientific evidence to support its medicinal properties, and it should be used with caution as it contains toxic compounds.


Common Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia, but has since spread to other parts of the world. It is known for its bitter and strong aroma and has been used for centuries for medicinal and recreational purposes.

One of the most well-known uses of Common Wormwood is in the production of Absinthe, a green, anise-flavored spirit that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Absinthe was often associated with artists and bohemian culture due to its supposed psychoactive effects, although this has since been debunked. Despite its reputation, Absinthe was banned in many countries due to concerns over its high alcohol content and potential health risks.

Aside from its use in Absinthe, Common Wormwood has a long history of medicinal use. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive issues, loss of appetite, and as a remedy for fever and infection. The herb is also thought to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Common Wormwood is also commonly used as a spice in cooking and to flavor vinegars and mustards. It is also used as an insect repellent and has been used to ward off pests in fields and gardens.

Despite its many uses, it is important to note that Common Wormwood should be used with caution. It is toxic in large quantities and can cause symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations, and muscle tremors. As with any herb or supplement, it is always recommended to speak with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

Common Wormwood is a versatile herb with a rich history and a variety of uses. Whether used for medicinal purposes, cooking, or as a pest repellent, it is a valuable plant with many potential benefits. However, as with any herb, it is important to use it responsibly and with caution.

The plant itself is quite distinctive, with silver-grey leaves and yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. Common Wormwood can grow to be up to two feet tall and is hardy enough to thrive in a variety of climates and soils. It is a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers, who appreciate its attractive appearance and aroma.

The active compounds in Common Wormwood are thought to be responsible for its medicinal properties. Thujone, for example, is a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Other compounds, such as absinthin, have also been found to have medicinal properties, making Common Wormwood a valuable plant for natural remedies.

In traditional herbal medicine, Common Wormwood has been used in a variety of ways. For example, it has been made into teas, tinctures, and infusions to treat digestive issues, or added to bath water to help with skin conditions. It has also been used as a rub for sore muscles and joints, or as a compress for headaches.

In modern times, Common Wormwood is still widely used for its medicinal properties. It is available in a variety of forms, including dried leaves, essential oils, and capsules. It is also commonly used in natural remedies, such as herbal supplements and teas, to treat a variety of conditions.

Despite its many benefits, it is important to remember that Common Wormwood should always be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Some individuals may be allergic to the plant, and it should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it may have adverse effects. Additionally, because of its high thujone content, it should not be taken in large quantities or for extended periods of time.

In conclusion, Common Wormwood is a valuable plant with a rich history of use in traditional and modern medicine. Its many benefits, including anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, make it a popular choice for natural remedies. However, it is important to use it responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, to ensure its safe and effective use.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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