Absinth wormwood is a perennial herb native to Europe and Siberia. It was more than likely introduced as an ornamental or for its value as a medicinal herb. The adult plant grows from two-to-four feet tall with multiple, small yellow flowers that are bent down. The entire plant is covered with short white hairs, giving it a grey-green appearance. The leaves are deeply divided into many lobed segments. The primary modes of reproduction are from seeds and short rhizomes. Absinth wormwood is very drought resistant and is most often seen escaping into dry soils in wastelands, overgrazed pastures, rangelands, and roadsides.
Absinth wormwood is a threat for many reasons: first, because it is a prolific seed producer and takes advantage of dry soil, it can expand greatly during drought years. Second, it has low-to-fair palatability and won’t be readily grazed. Furthermore, absinth wormwood contains sesquiterpene lactone absinth, which may be toxic to competing plants. Also, it produces very strong pollen grains that often affect people with allergies.
In Teton County we have seen absinth wormwood spreading along roads and trails. We have also seen it being grown as an ornamental.
If you find this weed on your property or around Teton County,
please report it at 733-8419