Artemisia biennis (Biennial Wormwood)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Origin:Northwest US
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; disturbed soil; waste areas, agricultural fields, roadsides, ditches, stream banks
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:1 to 10 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are numerous, yellow to green and globe like, 1/8 inch across in densely packed, short columnar clusters in the leaf axils, forming leafy, compound spikes on the upper stems and branches, several feet long on large specimens.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves  are alternate, 1-3 inches long, deeply divided into long, narrow lobes with coarsely toothed edges. Lower leaves can be double divided. Leaves and stems are hairless throughout. Stems can be simple or much branched at the base. Plants typically have a narrow, spire-like profile.


Biennial wormwood is a North American native species whose range has expanded dramatically since European settlement. Originating in the Pacific NW, it is now found across Canada to Nova Scotia and in the US, from California to New England. Modern agriculture practice has exerted selection pressure for the annual rather than biennial biotype and it can respond quickly to disturbance. It flourishes along disturbed road margins, drainage ditches and has become a serious weed of soybeans and dry beans in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Unlike other Artemisia species, A. biennis has little or no odor when leaves and stems are crushed.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Garrison, ND, and in Wilkin and Traverse counties in MN.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Eileen - Duluth
on: 2013-09-26 17:07:35

We have one of these growing in our garden in Duluth. I presume a seed either blew in or a bird brought it. We will be digging it up.

Posted by: gary - Carlton County
on: 2023-06-02 21:34:58

This plant occasionally appears in my gardens where it is an annual. The plants vary in height from a few inches to almost two feet.

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