Artemisia absinthium | ‘Absinthe’, ‘Wormwood’ | ~1,000 seeds
Artemisia absinthium is an herbaceous plant of the family Asteraceae, primarily used to manufacture the notorious alcoholic drink Absinthe. This listing is for seeds of this popular species, which is synonymous with Absinthium majus, Absinthium officinale, Absinthium vulgare, Artemisia absinthia, Artemisia arborescens var. cupaniana, Artemisia arborescens form. rehan, Artemisia baldaccii, Artemisia doonense, Artemisia inodora, Artemisia kulbadica, Artemisia pendula, Artemisia rehan and Artemisia rhaetica.
Informally called ‘Absinthe’, ‘Absinthe Wormwood’, ‘Absinthium’, ‘Common Wormwood’, ‘Grand Wormwood’, ‘Wermud’, ‘Wermuth’ and ‘Wormwood’, absinthium is native to parts of Eurasia and North Africa and has also become naturalised to large parts of Canada and the USA.
A prolific – sometimes invasive – perennial, Artemisia absinthium grows erect (to roughly one and a half metres), sprouting bronze-green-silver branches from which grow hirsute, green-grey-white leaves (up to twenty-five centimetres in length). Clustering, green-yellow flowers are tubular and bloom from early summer to early autumn, being followed by small fruits. Several absinthium cultivars of the species (including ‘Lambrook Mist’ and ‘Lambrook Silver’) have garnered the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for their striking beauty.
Widely grown – both as a distinctive ornamental and as an ingredient in several alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (besides Absinthe) – since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks, ‘Wormwood’ has at various times been used to treat Crohn’s disease, dyspepsia, IgA nephropathy, infectious diseases and poor appetite. However, it should be stated that the plant’s foliage is considered to be toxic to humans and other mammals, with side effects reportedly including convulsions, foaming at the mouth, renal failure, respiratory problems, uncontrollable diarrhoea and vomiting (although some argue these effects only occur subsequent to the consumption of the plant’s concentrated oils).
Growing naturally in arid, uncultivated habitats in USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8, such as along the edges of fields and footpaths (especially in nitrogen-rich areas), Artemisia absinthium should be grown from seed or cuttings in fertile, dry, neutral to alkaline soil, in full sun. Space the plants a minimum of seventy-five centimetres or so apart to allow them ample room to mature.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced