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ARTEMISIA — Wormwood      (Artemis'ia).

Hardy, shrubby or herbaceous plants, natives of Asia, Europe and North America. They belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. The word Artemisia is derived from Artemis, a Greek divinity.

Some Artemisias are grown for the sake of their fragrant or ornamental leaves, others as flowering plants. A. tridentata, Sage Brush, is a shrubby native of desert and semi desert regions in the West. A. vulgaris, Common Mug-wort, a perennial, herbaceous kind, is often a pestiferous weed.

Planting and Propagating. These plants need a sunny place and thrive best in light or well-drained ordinary soil. The best times to plant the perennial kinds are early fall or early spring. The perennial herbaceous kinds (those of which the stems die down in autumn) are increased by lifting the plants in October or March, separating them into rooted pieces and replanting. Artemisias of shrubby growth should be propagated by cuttings set in sandy soil in a cold frame in August—September; they will be well rooted by spring and may then be planted out of doors. Most are easily raised from seeds.

The annual Artemisias are raised from seeds sown directly out of doors in spring, and the seedlings are thinned out sufficiently to allow adequate space for the plants to develop.

Southernwood, Lad's Love or Old Man, a favorite old-fashioned garden plant, 2-3 ft. high, with gray, fragrant, finely divided leaves and small yellowish flowers in August, is Artemisia Abrotanum. This is a shrubby kind that is a native of Europe.

Artemisia Absinthium, Common Wormwood or Absinthium, grows 2-4 ft. tall, is shrubby and has small, yellowish flowers. It sometimes occurs wild as an escape from gardens in North America.

Roman Wormwood. A. pontica, the Roman Wormwood, is a shrubby kind that attains a height of 1-3 ft. and has much-divided, feathery leaves that are whitish or ashy-gray on their undersurfaces; they are very fragrant when bruised, even more pleasantly so than those of A. Abrotanum. The flowers often do not develop on cultivated plants. They are of a whitish yellow color and have no particular ornamental merit.

A. camphorata is a shrubby kind that grows 2-3 ft. tall and has foliage that is camphor-scented. Its leaves are green, the upper ones entire, the lower ones divided in pinnate fashion.

A Tender Kind. A very lovely Artemisia that unfortunately is not hardy in the North, but which may be planted outdoors permanently in mild climates, is A. arborescens. This kind also thrives and is useful when treated much in the same manner as Geraniums. Cuttings taken in late summer or early fall and rooted in a bed of sand in a greenhouse may be grown in pots throughout the winter and spring and be planted outdoors as soon as danger from frost is past. A. arborescens is an elegant plant for the flower border and summer flower beds, where its light gray, finely divided foliage forms a most attractive feature and contrasts pleasingly with many flowering plants. This is a shrubby kind that grows to a height of about 2 ft.

Perennial herbaceous kinds include Artemisia lactiflora, 4-5 ft. high, which bears a profusion of small, creamy white flowers in September; it is a good plant for the back of the border in well-cultivated, moisture-holding soil. A. Stelleriana, Beach Wormwood, Old Woman, or Dusty Miller, 6 in. high, is grown in the rock garden and in borders. It is a good seaside plant, and has gray-white leaves and yellow flowers in summer. A. Ludoviciana, 18-24 in. high, which has gray-white leaves, is used in summer flower beds and herbaceous borders, as also is A. albula (often grown as Artemisia Silver King), a species 3-4 ft. tall with silvery gray foliage. A. Schmidtiana grows about 2 ft. tall and has finely divided silvery gray foliage. A. Schmidtiana nana, 4 in. tall, foliage fernlike and silvery gray, is a good rock-garden kind; so, too, is the silvery A. frigida, which attains a height of about 18 in. and has beautiful silvery foliage. A. Dracuncunus is Tarragon.

Annuals or kinds usually grown as annuals are the Russian Wormwood, A. sacrorum and its variety named viridis, which commonly goes by the name of Summer Fir. These are erect plants that attain heights of 5-8 ft. and sometimes more. A. sacrorum has leaves that are hoary or are covered with white hairs and are coarsely lobed but not deeply dissected. The leaves of the Summer Fir are rich green in color and are finely dissected.

The Sweet Wormwood, A. annua, is a native of Asia that has naturalized itself in parts of North America. It is an old-fashioned garden annual that is sometimes known as Ambrosia and is valued for its fragrant foliage, which is of soft, feathery appearance. The Sweet Wormwood grows to a height of 4-5 ft.

Economic Uses. Several Artemisias are useful drugs by reason of their vermifugal or insecticidal properties. The most important is Artemisia Cina; from it the drug Santonia or Santonin is prepared. The flower heads only are used, and the supply is from northern Turkestan and Persia. This drug is largely used for the expulsion of intestinal worms. Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) is used for the same purpose, and also provides an ingredient of the absinthe liqueur. The shoots of Southernwood (A. Abrotanum) are used by druggists; they have stimulating, detergent and vermifugal properties.

ARTHROPODIUM (Arthropo'dium). A small genus of perennial herbs, related to Anthericum and belonging to the family Liliaceae. The name is from arthron, joint, and pous, foot, in reference to the jointed flower pedicels. They are comparatively hardy, succeeding in well-drained peaty loam in a sunny border, and are increased by division.

Arthropodium cirrhatum, 1 to 3 ft., bears large sprays of white flowers in May; A. candidum, white, is 12 in. tall. Both are natives of New Zealand. They are hardy in mild climates only.

 

 



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