Synonyms: Other names: dragon wormwood, mugwort Nomenclature: dracunculus = small dragon Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
General: 50-150 cm tall, odorous or odorless, branching. Growth habit: erect perennial with several stems from a stout rhizome. Stems: leafy, hairless or sometimes with short, wavy hairs.
Leaves: alternate, lance-shaped to linear, toothless, hairless, mostly 3-8 cm long and 2-10 mm wide, entire or a few of them cleft, the lower generally falling off, numerous on branches and up in the flower clusters.
Flowerheads: yellowish, 2-4 mm wide, with disc florets only, numerous growing in narrow, elongated, compound clusters. Bracts are green, hairless. Involucre 2-4 mm high, outer flowers female and fertile, inner disk flowers sterile.
Open, often rather dry places, from the plains to moderate elevations in the mountains in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from Yukon and BC to CA, e. to IL, s. to TX and NM.
The anise-flavored leaves and flowering tops of tarragon are used to season salads, sauces, soups, stews, eggs, meat, fish, and pickles. Leaves or essential oil are also used in the manufacture of tarragon vinegar, mustard, tartar sauce, and liqueurs. Tarragon may act as an antioxidant in some foods. Tarragon is generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a natural seasoning/flavoring and as a plant extract or essential oil. The green, aromatic leaves and succulent stems may be used fresh or dried for flavoring salads, vinegar, meats, etc.
The root of tarragon was a folk remedy for curing toothaches.
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