View All Posts

Nov 10

Absinthe Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium)

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM by Tim Weideman

Absinth Wormwood Artemisia Absinthium

One of the newer weeds to enter the noxious weed radar screen is absinthe wormwood. The introduction of absinthe wormwood to North America was deliberate and related to its potential uses as a medicinal and as an ingredient in the liquor, absinthe. Absinthe wormwood is a native of Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

In North Dakota it was first reported in 1910 and by 1973 a state inventory reported 40,000 acres in 42 of 53 counties. In 63 years absinthe went from a rarely seen plant to 1 designated as a noxious weed and present in the majority of the state of North Dakota.

Absinthe wormwood is an aggressive perennial plant and is now on the State of Colorado’s and Pitkin County’s noxious weed list. By state law, this plant must be eradicated in the Crystal River Valley and is found from Marble to Carbondale.

It is common in the Missouri Heights area of both Garfield and Eagle counties. It is similar in its shrub-like appearance to our ecologically important, native big sagebrush species and consequently is commonly overlooked. Its leaves are a similar sage, blue green color and the plant habit is comparable to our native big sages with heights reaching 16 to 48 inches.

One way to tell the difference: our native sages are woody and have leaves that persist over the winter. Absinthe is an herbaceous species that dies back to the root crown each fall and regrows from the soil level each spring. Garfield County, in cooperation with the local Conservation Districts, and Pitkin County both offer cost-share programs that provide financial assistance to landowners for noxious weed management.

To learn more about invasive ornamentals, please attend Pitkin County’s annual Ornamental Weed Tour in Snowmass Village on July 8 from 9 a.m. - Noon. The event is free and lunch will be provided. RSVP by emailing Crystal Yates or calling 970-920-5214.

For additional information: