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Artemisia (genus)

Artemisia (genus)

Artemisia /ˌɑːrtɪˈmiːziə/[4] is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200 and 400 species belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae. Common names for various species in the genus include mugwort, wormwood, and sagebrush.

Artemisia comprises hardy herbaceous plants and shrubs, which are known for the powerful chemical constituents in their essential oils. Artemisia species grow in temperate climates of both hemispheres, usually in dry or semiarid habitats. Notable species include A. vulgaris (common mugwort), A. tridentata (big sagebrush), A. annua (sagewort), A. absinthium (wormwood), A. dracunculus (tarragon), and A. abrotanum (southernwood). The leaves of many species are covered with white hairs.

Most species have strong aromas and bitter tastes from terpenoids and sesquiterpene lactones, which discourage herbivory, and may have had a selective advantage.[5] The small flowers are wind-pollinated.[5] Artemisia species are used as food plants by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species.

Some botanists split the genus into several genera, but DNA analysis[6] does not support the maintenance of the genera Crossostephium, Filifolium, Neopallasia, Seriphidium, and Sphaeromeria; three other segregate genera Stilnolepis, Elachanthemum, and Kaschgaria, are maintained by this evidence. Occasionally, some of the species are called sages, causing confusion with the Salvia sages in the family Lamiaceae.

Artemisia cina (Levant wormseed)[1]
Scientific classification
Type species
Artemisia vulgaris
  • Absinthium Mill.
  • Chamartemisia Rydb.
  • Oligosporus Cass.
  • Artemisiastrum Rydb.
  • Artanacetum (Rzazade) Rzazade
  • Abrotanum Mill.
  • Draconia Heist. ex Fabr.
  • Artemisia subg. Seriphidium Less.
  • Hydrophytum Eschw.
  • Seriphidium (Besser ex Less.) Fourr.
  • Dracunculus Ruppr. ex Ledeb. 1845, illegitimate homonym, not Dracunculus Mill. 1754 (Araceae)[3]


The name "artemisia" ultimately derives from the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana), the namesake of Greek Queens Artemisia I and II.[7] A more specific reference may be to Artemisia II of Caria, a botanist and medical researcher who died in 350 BC.[8][9]

Cultivation and uses

Artemisia pycnocephala (beach sagewort) flowers

Artemisia pycnocephala (beach sagewort) flowers

Artemisia abrotanum

Artemisia abrotanum

Artemisia annua

Artemisia annua

Artemisia absinthium

Artemisia absinthium

Artemisia californica (California sagebrush) leaves

Artemisia californica (California sagebrush) leaves

Artemisia mauiensis (Maui wormwood)

Artemisia mauiensis (Maui wormwood)

Artemisia nilagirica (Indian wormwood)

Artemisia nilagirica (Indian wormwood)

Artemisia pontica (Roman wormwood)

Artemisia pontica (Roman wormwood)

The aromatic leaves of some species are used for flavouring. Most species have an extremely bitter taste. A. dracunculus (tarragon) is widely used as a culinary herb, particularly important in French cuisine.

Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) was used to repel midges (mug > midge), fleas and moths, intestinal worms, and in brewing (mugwort beer, mugwort wine) as a remedy against hangovers and nightmares.

Artemisia absinthium is used to make the highly potent spirits absinthe. Malört also contains wormwood. The aperitif vermouth (derived from the German word Wermut, "wormwood") is a wine flavored with aromatic herbs, but originally with wormwood.

Artemisia arborescens (tree wormwood, or sheeba in Arabic) is an aromatic herb indigenous to the Middle East used in tea, usually with mint.

A few species are grown as ornamental plants, the fine-textured ones used for clipped bordering. All grow best in free-draining sandy soil, unfertilized, and in full sun.

Artemisia stelleriana is known as Dusty Miller, but several other species bear that name, including Jacobaea maritima (syn. Senecio cineraria), Silene coronaria (syn. Lychnis coronaria), and Centaurea cineraria.

The largest collection of living Artemisia species, subspecies and cultivars is held in the National Collection of Artemisia in Sidmouth, Devon, UK , which holds about 400 taxa. The National Collection scheme is administered by Plant Heritage (formerly National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens, NCCPG) in the British Isles.[10]


Artemisinin (from Artemisia annua) and derivatives are a group of compounds with the most rapid action of all current drugs used to treat malaria.[11] Treatments containing an artemisinin derivative (artemisinin-combination therapies) are now standard treatment worldwide for malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.

Artemisia cina and other Old World species are the source of the antihelminthic drug, santonin.

Chinese mugwort, Artemisia argyi, is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Artemisia capillaris Thunberg (A. capillaris) has been found to have potent sedative-hypnotic effects, which are probably mediated through potentiation of the GABAA receptor- Cl− ion channel complex [12]

Artemisia austriaca has beneficial effects in reducing the withdrawal syndrome of morphine.[13]


Artemisia has been mentioned and used in popular culture for centuries. A few examples are:

  • Artemisia herba-alba is thought to be the plant translated as "wormwood" in English language versions of the Bible (apsinthos in the Greek text). Wormwood is mentioned seven times in the Jewish Bible, always with the implication of bitterness. It is mentioned once in the New Testament.[14] Wormwood is the "name of the star" in the Book of Revelation 8:11 [39] (kai to onoma tou asteros legetai ho Apsinthos) that John of Patmos envisions as cast by the angel and falling into the waters, making them undrinkably bitter. Further references in the Bible show wormwood was a common herb known for its bitter taste. (Deuteronomy 29:17 [40] , Proverbs 5:4 [41] , Jeremiah 9:15 [42] , 25:15 [43] , Lamentations 3:15,19 [44] , Amos 5:7 [45] )

  • In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the titular character says "Wormwood, wormwood" to comment on the bitter implications of what the Player Queen has just said.

Selected species

  • Artemisia abrotanum L. – southernwood, southern wormwood, slovenwood, abrotanum, old-man, lad's love

  • Artemisia absinthium L. – grand wormwood, absinthium

  • Artemisia adamsii Besser

  • Artemisia afra Jacq. ex Willd. – African wormwood, African sagebrush

  • Artemisia alaskana Rydb. – Alaska wormwood

  • Artemisia alcockii Pamp.

  • Artemisia aleutica Hultén – Aleutian wormwood

  • Artemisia amoena Poljakov

  • Artemisia annua L. – annual wormwood, sweet sagewort, sweet Annie

  • Artemisia araxina Takht.

  • Artemisia arborescens – tree wormwood

  • Artemisia arbuscula Nutt. – little sagebrush, low Sagebrush, black sage

  • Artemisia arctica Less. – boreal sagebrush

  • Artemisia arctisibirica Korobkov

  • Artemisia arenaria DC.

  • Artemisia arenicola Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia argentata Klokov

  • Artemisia argentea L'Hér. – Madeira wormwood

  • Artemisia argyi H.Lév. & Vaniot – Chinese mugwort

  • Artemisia argyrophylla Ledeb.

  • Artemisia armeniaca Lam.

  • Artemisia aschurbajewii C.G.Aro

  • Artemisia australis Less. – ʻĀhinahina, Oʻahu wormwood[15]

  • Artemisia austriaca Jacq.

  • Artemisia avarica Minat.

  • Artemisia badhysi Krasch. & Lincz. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia balchanorum Krasch.

  • Artemisia baldshuanica Krasch. & Zaprjag.

  • Artemisia bargusinensis Spreng.

  • Artemisia bejdemaniae Leonova

  • Artemisia biennis Willd. – biennial sagewort, biennial wormwood

  • Artemisia bigelovii A.Gray – Bigelow sage, Bigelow sagebrush

  • Artemisia borealis Pall.

  • Artemisia borotalensis Poljakov

  • Artemisia bottnica Lundstr. ex Kindb.

  • Artemisia caespitosa Ledeb.

  • Artemisia californica Less. – coastal sagebrush, California sagebrush

  • Artemisia camelorum Krasch.

  • Artemisia campestris L. – field wormwood, sand wormwood

  • Artemisia camphorata Vill.

  • Artemisia cana Pursh – silver sagebrush

  • Artemisia canadensis Michx. – Canada wormwood

  • Artemisia capillaris Thunb. – capillary wormwood, yin-chen wormwood

  • Artemisia carruthii Wood ex Carruth. – Carruth sagewort, Carruth's sagebrush

  • Artemisia carvifolia Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb.

  • Artemisia caucasica Willd.

  • Artemisia chamaemelifolia Vill.

  • Artemisia cina O.Berg & C.F.Schmidt – santonica, Levant wormseed

  • Artemisia ciniformis Krasch. & Popov ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia commutata Besser

  • Artemisia compacta Fisch. ex DC.

  • Artemisia cuspidata Krasch.

  • Artemisia czukavinae Filatova

  • Artemisia daghestanica Krasch. & Poretzky

  • Artemisia demissa Krasch.

  • Artemisia depauperata Krasch.

  • Artemisia deserti Krasch.

  • Artemisia desertorum Spreng.

  • Artemisia diffusa Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia dimoana Popov

  • Artemisia dolosa Krasch.

  • Artemisia douglasiana Bess. – Douglas' mugwort, Douglas' sagewort, northwest mugwort

  • Artemisia dracunculus L. – tarragon, silky wormwood

  • Artemisia dubia Wall.

  • Artemisia dubjanskyana Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia dumosa Poljakov

  • Artemisia elongata Filatova & Ladygina

  • Artemisia eremophila Krasch. & Butkov ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia eriantha Ten.

  • Artemisia feddei H.Lév. & Vaniot

  • Artemisia fedtschenkoana Krasch.

  • Artemisia ferganensis Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia filifolia Torr. – sand sagebrush, sand-sage, silvery wormwood

  • Artemisia flava Jurtzev

  • Artemisia franserioides Greene – ragweed sagebrush

  • Artemisia freyniana (Pamp.) Krasch.

  • Artemisia frigida Willd. – fringed sagebrush, fringed-sage, prairie sagewort, estafiata

  • Artemisia fulvella Filatova & Ladygina

  • Artemisia furcata Bieb. – forked wormwood

  • Artemisia galinae Ikonn.

  • Artemisia genipi Weber ex Stechm.

  • Artemisia glabella Kar. & Kir.

  • Artemisia glacialis L. – glacier wormwood, alpine mugwort

  • Artemisia glanduligera Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd.

  • Artemisia glaucina Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia globosa Krasch.

  • Artemisia globularia Cham. ex Bess. – purple wormwood

  • Artemisia glomerata Ledeb. – cudweed sagewort, Pacific alpine wormwood

  • Artemisia gmelinii Webb ex Stechmann – Gmelin's wormwood, Russian wormwood

  • Artemisia gnaphalodes Nutt.

  • Artemisia gorgonum Webb

  • Artemisia gorjaevii Poljakov

  • Artemisia gracilescens Krasch. & Iljin

  • Artemisia granatensis Boiss. ex DC.

  • Artemisia gurganica (Krasch.) Filatova

  • Artemisia gypsacea Krasch., Popov & Lincz. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia halodendron Turcz. ex Besser

  • Artemisia halophila Krasch.

  • Artemisia heptapotamica Poljakov

  • Artemisia herba-alba Asso – white wormwood

  • Artemisia hippolyti Butkov

  • Artemisia hololeuca M.Bieb. ex Besser

  • Artemisia hulteniana Vorosch.

  • Artemisia incana (L.) Druce

  • Artemisia indica Willd. – yomogi

  • Artemisia insulana Krasch.

  • Artemisia insularis Kitam.

  • Artemisia integrifolia L.

  • Artemisia issykkulensis Poljakov

  • Artemisia jacutica Drobow

  • Artemisia japonica Thunb. – otoko yomogi

  • Artemisia juncea Kar. & Kir.

  • Artemisia karatavica Krasch. & Abolin ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia karavajevii Leonova

  • Artemisia kaschgarica Krasch.

  • Artemisia kauaiensis (Skottsberg) Skottsberg – ʻĀhinahina, Kauaʻi wormwood

  • Artemisia keiskeana Miq.

  • Artemisia kelleri Krasch.

  • Artemisia kemrudica Krasch.

  • Artemisia knorringiana Krasch.

  • Artemisia kochiiformis Krasch. & Lincz. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia koidzumii Nakai

  • Artemisia kopetdaghensis Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia korovinii Poljakov

  • Artemisia korshinskyi Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia krushiana Bess. – Krush's wormwood

  • Artemisia kulbadica Boiss. & Buhse

  • Artemisia kuschakewiczii C.G.A.Winkl.

  • Artemisia laciniata Willd. – Siberian wormwood

  • Artemisia laciniatiformis Kom.

  • Artemisia lactiflora Kom. – white mugwort

  • Artemisia lagocephala (Besser) DC.

  • Artemisia lagopus Fisch. ex Besser

  • Artemisia lanata Willd.

  • Artemisia latifolia Ledeb.

  • Artemisia ledebouriana Besser

  • Artemisia lehmanniana Bunge

  • Artemisia leontopodioides Fisch. ex Besser

  • Artemisia lessingiana Besser

  • Artemisia leucodes Schrenk

  • Artemisia leucophylla (Turcz. ex Besser) Pamp.

  • Artemisia leucotricha Krasch. ex Ladygina

  • Artemisia lindleyana Bess. – Columbia River wormwood

  • Artemisia lipskyi Poljakov

  • Artemisia littoricola Kitam.

  • Artemisia longifolia Nutt. – longleaf sagebrush, longleaf wormwood

  • Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt. – gray sagewort, prairie sage, white sagebrush, Louisiana-sage, western-sage

  • Artemisia macilenta (Maxim.) Krasch.

  • Artemisia macrantha Ledeb.

  • Artemisia macrobotrys Ledeb. – Yukon wormwood

  • Artemisia macrocephala Jacq. ex Besser

  • Artemisia macrorhiza Turcz.

  • Artemisia maracandica Bunge

  • Artemisia maritima L. – sea wormwood, absinthe de mer

  • Artemisia marschalliana Spreng.

  • Artemisia martjanovii Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia mauiensis (A.Gray) Skottsberg – ʻĀhinahina, Maui wormwood

  • Artemisia maximovicziana Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia medioxima Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia messerschmidtiana Besser

  • Artemisia michauxiana Bess. – Michaux sagebrush, Michaux's wormwood, lemon sagewort

  • Artemisia minor Jacq. ex Besser

  • Artemisia mogoltavica Poljakov

  • Artemisia mongolica (Besser) Fisch. ex Nakai

  • Artemisia mongolorum Krasch.

  • Artemisia montana (Nakai) Pamp.

  • Artemisia mucronulata Poljakov

  • Artemisia multisecta Leonova

  • Artemisia mutellina Vill.

  • Artemisia nachitschevanica Rzazade

  • Artemisia nakaii Pamp.

  • Artemisia namanganica Poljakov

  • Artemisia nana Gaudin

  • Artemisia negrei Ouyahya

  • Artemisia nesiotica Raven – island sagebrush

  • Artemisia nigricans Filatova & Ladygina

  • Artemisia niitakayamensis Hayata

  • Artemisia nilagirica (C.B.Clarke) Pamp.

  • Artemisia nitida Bertol.

  • Artemisia nortonii Pamp.

  • Artemisia norvegica Fr. – Norwegian mugwort, alpine sagewort

  • Artemisia nova A.Nels. – black sagebrush, small sagebrush

  • Artemisia nuristanica Kitam.

  • Artemisia obscura Pamp.

  • Artemisia obtusa Rydb.

  • Artemisia obtusiloba Ledeb.

  • Artemisia occidentalisichuanensis Y.R.Ling & S.Y.Zhao

  • Artemisia occidentalisinensis Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia oelandica (Besser) Krasch.

  • Artemisia olchonensis Leonova

  • Artemisia oliveriana J.Gay ex Besser

  • Artemisia ordosica Krasch.

  • Artemisia orientalixizangensis Y.R.Ling & Humphries

  • Artemisia orientaliyunnanensis Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia orthobotrys Kitag.

  • Artemisia packardiae J.Grimes & Ertter – Packard's wormwood, Succor Creek sagebrush

  • Artemisia pallasiana Fisch. ex Besser

  • Artemisia palmeri A.Gray – San Diego sagewort

  • Artemisia palustris L.

  • Artemisia pallens Wall

  • Artemisia pannosa Krasch.

  • Artemisia papposa S.F.Blake & Cronq. – Owyhee sage, Owyhee sagebrush

  • Artemisia parryi A.Gray – Parry's wormwood

  • Artemisia pattersonii A.Gray – Patterson's wormwood

  • Artemisia pectinata Pall.

  • Artemisia pedatifida Nutt. – birdfoot sagebrush, matted sagewort

  • Artemisia pedemontana Balb.

  • Artemisia persica Boiss.

  • Artemisia pewzowii C.G.A.Winkl.

  • Artemisia phaeolepis Krasch.

  • Artemisia polysticha Poljakov

  • Artemisia pontica L. – Roman wormwood, green-ginger

  • Artemisia porrecta Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia porteri Cronq. – Porter's wormwood, Porter mugwort

  • Artemisia prasina Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia princeps Pamp. – Japanese mugwort, yomogi

  • Artemisia proceriformis Krasch.

  • Artemisia prolixa Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia punctigera Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia purshiana Besser

  • Artemisia pycnocephala (Less.) DC. – beach wormwood, coastal sagewort

  • Artemisia pycnorhiza Ledeb.

  • Artemisia pygmaea A.Gray – pygmy sagebrush

  • Artemisia quinqueloba Trautv.

  • Artemisia remotiloba Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia rhodantha Rupr.

  • Artemisia rigida (Nutt.) A.Gray – scabland sagebrush

  • Artemisia rothrockii A.Gray – timberline sagebrush

  • Artemisia roxburghiana Wall. ex Besser

  • Artemisia rubripes Nakai

  • Artemisia rupestris L. – rock wormwood

  • Artemisia rutifolia Stephan ex Spreng.

  • Artemisia sacrorum Ledeb. ex Hook.f.

  • Artemisia saissanica (Krasch.) Filatova

  • Artemisia saitoana Kitam.

  • Artemisia salsoloides Willd.

  • Artemisia samoiedorum Pamp.

  • Artemisia santolina Schrenk

  • Artemisia santolinifolia Turcz. ex Besser

  • Artemisia santonica L.

  • Artemisia saposhnikovii Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia schischkinii Krasch.

  • Artemisia schmidtiana – angel's hair

  • Artemisia schrenkiana Ledeb.

  • Artemisia scoparia Waldst. & Kit. – redstem wormwood, yin-chen wormwood

  • Artemisia scopiformis Ledeb.

  • Artemisia scopulorum A.Gray – alpine sagebrush, dwarf sagebrush

  • Artemisia scotina Nevski

  • Artemisia semiarida (Krasch. & Lavrenko) Filatova

  • Artemisia senjavinensis Bess. – arctic wormwood

  • Artemisia sericea Weber ex Stechm.

  • Artemisia serotina Bunge

  • Artemisia serrata Nutt. – sawtooth wormwood

  • Artemisia sieversiana Willd. – sieversian wormwood

  • Artemisia skorniakowii C.G.A.Winkl.

  • Artemisia sogdiana Bunge

  • Artemisia songarica Schrenk

  • Artemisia spiciformis K.Koch

  • Artemisia spicigera K.Koch

  • Artemisia spinescens D.C.Eaton – budsage [syn. Picrothamnus desertorum]

  • Artemisia splendens Willd.

  • Artemisia stelleriana Bess. – hoary mugwort, oldwoman, Dusty Miller, beach wormwood

  • Artemisia stenocephala Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia stenophylla Kitam.

  • Artemisia stolonifera (Maxim.) Kom.

  • Artemisia subarctica Krasch.

  • Artemisia subchrysolepis Filatova

  • Artemisia sublessingiana Krasch. ex Poljakov

  • Artemisia subsalsa Filatova

  • Artemisia subviscosa Turcz. ex Besser

  • Artemisia succulenta Ledeb.

  • Artemisia suksdorfii Piper – coastal wormwood, Suksdorf sagewort

  • Artemisia sylvatica Maxim.

  • Artemisia szowitziana (Besser) Grossh.

  • Artemisia tanacetifolia L.

  • Artemisia taurica Willd. – Tauric wormwood

  • Artemisia tenuisecta Nevski

  • Artemisia terrae-albae Krasch.

  • Artemisia thuscula Cav.

  • Artemisia tianschanica Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia tilesii Ledeb. – Tilesius' wormwood, Aleutian mugwort

  • Artemisia tomentella Trautv.

  • Artemisia tournefortiana Rchb.

  • Artemisia transbaicalensis Leonova

  • Artemisia transiliensis Poljakov

  • Artemisia trautvetteriana Besser

  • Artemisia tridentata Nutt. – big sagebrush, blue sage, black sage, basin sagebrush, common sagebrush

  • Artemisia triniana Besser

  • Artemisia tripartita Rydb. – threetip sagebrush

  • Artemisia turanica Krasch.

  • Artemisia turcomanica Gand.

  • Artemisia umbelliformis Lam. – Alps wormwood, alpine wormwood

  • Artemisia unalaskensis Rydb.

  • Artemisia underwoodii Rydb.

  • Artemisia uralensis Spreng. ex Besser

  • Artemisia uraorum Hultén

  • Artemisia uzbekistanica Poljakov

  • Artemisia vachanica Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia valida Krasch. ex Poljak.

  • Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte – Chinese wormwood

  • Artemisia viridis Willd.

  • Artemisia vulgaris L. – mugwort, felonherb, green-ginger, common wormwood

  • Artemisia wallichiana Besser

  • Artemisia waltonii J.R.Drumm. ex Pamp.

  • Artemisia wudanica Liou & W.Wang

  • Artemisia wulingshanensis Bar. & Skv. ex Liou

  • Artemisia wurzellii C.M.James & Stace

  • Artemisia xerophila Magnier

  • Artemisia xerophytica Krasch.

  • Artemisia xylorhiza Krasch. ex Filatova

  • Artemisia yadongensis Ling & Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia yongii Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia younghusbandii J.R.Drumm. ex Pamp.

  • Artemisia zayuensis Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia zhaodongensis G.Y.Chang & M.Y.Liou

  • Artemisia zhongdianensis Y.R.Ling

  • Artemisia zollingeriana Sch.Bip.[16]

Formerly placed here

  • Centipeda minima (L.) A.Braun & Asch. (as A. minima L.)

  • Eupatorium capillifolium (Lam.) Small (as A. capillifolia Lam.)

  • Filifolium sibiricum (L.) Kitam. (as A. sibirica (L.) Maxim.)

  • Grangea maderaspatana (L.) Poir. (as A. maderaspatana L.)

  • Matricaria discoidea DC. (as A. matricarioides auct.)[17]


Classification of Artemisia is difficult.[5] Divisions of Artemisia prior to 2000 into subgenera or sections have not been backed up by molecular data,[6] but much of the molecular data, as of 2006, are not especially strong.[5] The following identified groups do not include all the species in the genus.

Section Tridentatae

Section Tridentatae consists of eleven to thirteen species of coarse shrubs, which are very prominent parts of the flora in western North America.[18] In some classifications, they are part of the genus or subgenus Seriphidium, although recent studies have contested this lineage to Old World species.[6] Tridentatae was first articulated as a section by Rydberg in 1916, and it was not until McArthur et al. in 1981 that Tridentatae was elevated to a separate subgenus from Seriphidium. The principal motive for their separation was geographical distribution, chemical makeup, and karyotype.[19] Much of the debate surrounding Tridentatae is phytogeographic, thus habitat and geography are frequently cited when understanding the evolution of this endemic North American subgenus. Evolutionary cycles of wet and dry climates encouraged “diploid and polyploid races which are morphologically similar if not indistinguishable” (McArthur 598). Autopolyploidy among plants is not uncommon, however Tridentatae exhibits a remarkable amount of chromosomal differences at the population level, rather than the taxon level. This contributes to the difficulty in determining Tridentatae's phylogeny. The subgenus’ relative homogeneity within ploidies has enabled it to habitually hybridize and backcross, resulting in a high degree of genetic variation at the population level rather than the taxon level.[20] For instance, some articles suggest that to be monophyletic, section Tridentatae should exclude Artemisia bigelovii and Artemisia palmeri.[6][18] and include Artemisia pygmaea and Artemisia rigida.[21] These results were supported by extensive chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and nrDNA sequencing which departed from prior morphological, anatomical, and behavioral data.

Traditional lineages within Tridentatae were proposed on the basis of leaf morphology, habitat preference, and the ability to leaf-sprout, among other morphological and behavioral characteristics.[18] For instance, sagebrush in the Artemisia tridentata lineage have tridentate leaves, live in especially arid habitats, and are unable to root-sprout.[18] This method of delimitation is problematic for species that do not fully adhere to the characteristics of a given lineage. Intergrading forms are particularly common in recently radiated subgenera such as Tridentatae, given their frequent reversals and convergent evolution. Recent, global reviews of Artemisia using ITS analysis support the hypothesis that Tridentatae has independent origins from Old World Seriphidium[22] These findings were compared with capitula morphology, challenging past assumptions based on floral characteristics. To better understand the rapid diversification and radiation relative to Old World Artemisia, a closer study of Beriginian or Arctic species may provide missing links.[23]

  • Artemisia tridentata

  • Artemisia cana

  • Artemisia nova

  • Artemisia rigida

  • Artemisia arbuscula

  • Artemisia longiloba

  • Artemisia tripartita

  • Artemisia pygmaea

  • Artemisia rothrockii

Section Tridentatae includes above species with exception of Artemisia longiloba, which is treated as a subspecies of Artemisia arbuscula. Section Nebulae includes Artemisia californica, Artemisia nesiotica, and Artemisia filifolia.[24]

Old World Seriphidium

The Old World species which different classifications put into the genus or subgenus Seriphidium consist of about 125 species native to Europe and temperate Asia, with the largest number of species in Central Asia.[25] Some classifications, such as that of the Flora of North America, exclude any New World plants from Seriphidium.[5] They are herbaceous plants or small shrubs.[25]

Subgenus Dracunculus

One group which is well-supported by molecular data is subgenus Dracunculus. It consists of 80 species found in both North America and Eurasia,[5] of which the best-known is perhaps Artemisia dracunculus, the spice tarragon.


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