Wild tarragon, dragon wormwood
All the western states
Roadsides, fields, meadows, canyons; 2,000 to 10,000 feet
Linear to narrowly lanceolate, up to 3 inches long
A cultivated variety of artemisia dracunculus, wild tarragon, is widely used for cooking and herbal medicine on account of its fragrant leaves. Unlike many other sagebrush species, all parts are usually hairless, though the narrow, bright green (sometimes greyish-green), pointed-tipped leaves may have a sparse hair covering. The leaves are up to 3 inches long but less than a quarter of an inch wide. Leaves are generally unlobed. Stems are reddish-brown, less often green. Plants form clumps, often with dozens of stems growing close together.
Flowerheads are produced in elongated clusters at the top of the stem and at the upper leaf nodes, subtended by leafy bracts. Heads are often nodding, angled downwards. The involucre is hemispherical, lined by brown or greenish phyllaries. The small yellow disc florets are either staminate (numbering eight to 20), or pistillate (six to 25). They become red then brown as they wither.