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Sweet Annie
Artemisia annua

Native to China

Zone: hardy to zone 4, not frost tender

Soil: Light (sandy), medium (loamy), well drained. Succeeds in any soil but prefers poor soil and relatively dry soil, pH 4.8-8.2.

Perennial: 2-4 feet tall

Germination: 2-26 weeks at 15°C/59°F

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Plant: late winter to early summer in greenhouse. Transplant in summer. Prefers full sun. Think about planting near carrots to protect the carrots from insects. If planted too close to other plants, it could inhibit the growth of the plants.

Flowers: pale yellow and not spectacular. If munched by animals, the plant may not flower at all.

Harvest: when coming into flower, then dry.

Uses: fresh or dried leaf is used to repel insects, slugs, and mice. Can be placed in closets or directly on clothing. This is due to the sesquiterpene lactones that are insecticidal.

Medicinal Uses: parasiticide, especially round and tape worms. Moderate use — as a flavoring — makes a good digestive tonic. The essential oil is very potent but correctly dosed is a cardiac stimulant. It is poisonous in excess.

Taste: exceptionally bitter.

Warnings: prolonged use is not recommended because of possible toxicity from thujone [which can cause nervous disorders when consumed in excess.] Use in small quantities. Not for children or pregnant women.

Habitat Considerations: deer do not apparently forage on this plant but rabbits will.

Notes: the name Artemisia comes from the Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis. The common name, wormwood, refers to the traditional use of this plant for intestinal parasites. Vermouth comes from the older name werwod (English) or Wermut (German). The famous alcoholic beverage, Absinthe, is also made with this herb.