Southernwood, also known as Artemisia abrotanum, is a perennial plant native to southern Europe and North Africa. It has grey-green leaves that are finely divided and have a strong, pungent aroma when crushed. The plant produces small yellow flowers in summer. Southernwood typically grows to a height of 2-3 feet and has a fast growth rate.
One way to differentiate Southernwood from similar plants is by its pungent aroma and grey-green leaves. It is also sometimes called “Old Man” or “Lad’s Love” due to its strong scent.
Southernwood prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is not winter hardy and may need to be grown in a greenhouse or brought indoors during the winter in colder climates.
Southernwood is not known to be edible. However, it has been used in traditional medicine as an insect repellent and for its aromatic properties. The plant is also valued for its use in perfumery and as a natural insecticide.
In terms of its value for wildlife, Southernwood provides nectar for pollinators and can also be used as a larval host plant for some butterfly species.