ABSINTH WORMWOOD, Artemisia
absinthium L. 1, lower part of leafy stem; 2, upper
part of stem with flowers; 3, flower head; 4, seed. Perennial,
fragrant herb or shrub, reproducing by seed and by branching rootstocks.
Stems up to about 3 feet (90 cm) tall, clumped, often woody at base
and hoary with soft, short gray hairs. Leaves alternate, lower leaves
with long petioles, upper with short or no petioles. The blade, 2 to 5
inches (5 to 12.5 cm) long, is divided 2 or 3 times into leaflets which
are covered with silky hairs. Flower heads yellowish, about
1/8 inch (3 mm) in diameter, hanging from leafy panicles. Fruits
1-seeded (achenes), smooth, about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) long, flattened, narrow
at base and rounded at tip, light graybrown. Found in pastures,
in waste places, and on roadsides, often on dry soils. If grazed by cattle,
it is likely to flavor the milk.