Greens with a unique aroma: an overview of varieties, cultivation, use and beneficial properties of tarragon

 Greens with a unique aroma: an overview of varieties, cultivation, use and beneficial properties of tarragon

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Herbs give food a unique flavor. Among them, tarragon stands out. The plant has many useful qualities, therefore it is used in cooking, folk medicine, and perfumery. It contains vitamins and minerals that normalize the body's work.

In the article we will tell you everything about tarragon, aka dragon wormwood: what is the name of the plant where it grows in Russia, perennial or annual, how it blooms, and also how it differs from rosemary and why it sometimes does not smell.

What is it and what is it called differently?

Tarragon is a perennial bush of the Asteraceae or Asteraceae family, there is another version of the name - tarragon. People call it tarragon or dragon wormwood, dragoon herb, serpentine, allspice, toguy, chagyr.

The Latin name for the spice is Artemisia dracunculus. The first part of the name is associated with the goddess Artemis, and the second is translated as a little dragon. In English, the name sounds like tarragon. There are several versions of the origin of the name:

  1. Part of the Artemisia herb received in honor of Artemis. The goddess gave the girls a tarragon branch as a gift as a symbol of health and fertility.
  2. The origin is associated with Queen Artemisia, who grieved for her deceased husband. In the places where her tears fell, grass grew with a bitter taste.
  3. According to the third variant, the name comes from the Greek word artemes, which means healthy.

Reference! The French named the tarragon estragon. In translation, another name means snake grass.

What does the plant look like?

The bush reaches 1.5 m in height. The stem is straight with a large number of thin leaves of a dark green color. The lower leaves are notched at the ends, which resembles the tongue of a snake. A distinctive feature from ordinary wormwood is the absence of a cannon on the branches. The flowers are white or pale yellow. They combine into small paniculate inflorescences. Tarragon seeds form into small, round boxes. During the flowering period from August to September, it spreads the smell of wormwood.

Features of the root system

Tarragon has powerful roots. The stems originate from rhizomes 0.5 - 1.5 cm thick. Many lateral branches develop from it, which go 30 - 40 cm deep. Thanks to this, the bush perfectly tolerates frosts and begins growing after thawing of the upper soil layer.

Taste and smell

The spice has a pleasant smell that resembles anise or black pepper. When dried, it exudes a spicy and sugary aroma.

This is facilitated by essential oils. Such seasoning adds spice to dishes.... If used in heat treatment, tarragon becomes bitter. Sometimes it gives freshness, so it is confused with mint.

There is no smell of tarragon if you grow a bush from seeds. The plant loses its aroma after a large amount of nitrogen fertilization.


Today, tarragon is considered a classic French condiment, but it has long been used in the Middle East as tarragon.

Reference! The spice was first mentioned in the 8th century. Physician and biologist Ibn Bayter noted in his notes that the juice and fresh shoots of the plant give the drinks a piquant taste.

Tarragon came to Western Europe in the 17th century thanks to Arab merchants... The bush was named dracunculus for the pointed leaves that resemble the tongue of a dragon. French chefs added it to most of the dish, so it spread throughout this country.

Where does it grow?

Wild tarragon grows in North America, Mexico, East and Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Bushes grow in the European part of Russia, in the south of Eastern Siberia, Western Siberia and the Far East. As a garden plant, it is grown in the USA, France, Hungary, Holland, Russia.

Depending on the place of cultivation, the taste of the spice differs. Russian tarragon is characterized by a pungent smell and taste without sweetness. Plants from Ukraine, the Urals and Transcaucasia are considered more aromatic. The French look has a delicate flavor, while the Mexican has a pungent and spicy note.

Tarragon wormwood and rosemary: are they the same or not, and what is the difference?

Is it one plant or not? Outwardly, they are similar, but there are several differences between them. Rosemary leaves are roundish and thickened at the end, while tarragon leaves are sharp and thin. The first plant is grown as an annual (more about growing tarragon - here).

When dry and fresh, rosemary exudes a rich resinous-coniferous aroma. It can overpower other odors, so it is handled with care in cooking. The smell of dried and fresh tarragon does not match. Its dried leaves are characterized by a fragrant aroma with sugary notes. Fresh twigs give anise and mint flavor.

Types and varieties: description and photo

Next, you can familiarize yourself with the description of the various varieties and see how the tarragon bushes look in the photo. There are 2 types of tarragon: fragrant and odorless. In different areas, only the first option is used. The following are considered popular varieties of this plant.


It is characterized by a lush green mass and stems up to 1 m high... It has a pronounced bitter taste.


It grows up to 1.5 m. It has a spicy aroma with hints of freshness, which remains dry.

Zhulebinsky Semko

It has a rich spicy-pungent smell with a sweetish taste.


Differs in content of a large amount of nutrients. To maintain its qualities, it is pruned every 3 years.


Frost-resistant plant with long dark green leaves. It is characterized by a classic spicy aroma. The variety was bred from an English specimen of the plant.

Beneficial features

Tarragon is valued for a large number of useful substances in its composition: vitamins of group B, A, C, calcium, phosphorus, carotene, ascorbic acid. Thanks to these components, it struggles with such problems:

  • bronchitis and pneumonia;
  • tuberculosis;
  • weakened immunity;
  • depression and insomnia;
  • toothache;
  • parasites.

The essential oil of the plant has a positive effect on the functioning of the digestive system., strengthens and cleanses blood vessels. Tarragon is used to prevent heart attack and stroke. In folk medicine, it is used as a diuretic.

Harm and contraindications

Some people are not advised to consume pure tarragon or infusions based on it. Tarragon is prohibited in the following cases:

  • pregnancy, since the components of the plant provoke a miscarriage;
  • lactation period;
  • gastritis and hyperacidity of the stomach;
  • gallstones;
  • allergy to plants of the Asteraceae family;
  • ulcer.

Tea and tarragon infusion are drunk no longer than a month. In large quantities, it causes nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Sometimes loss of consciousness or seizures occurs.

Important! Adverse reactions are caused by methylchavicol, which is a carcinogenic substance. Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor before using tarragon.

For you, we have prepared an article about all the beneficial properties and contraindications to the use of tarragon.

Cooking applications

It is widely used as a spice in different countries. Fresh green shoots are used that are not woody. Tarragon enhances taste and aroma. It goes well with fish, meat, vegetables. Young branches are useful in conservation, since the plant belongs to natural preservatives. Tarragon spices up alcohol: wine, vodka, liquor. Fresh leaves are thrown into soups, salads and sauces.

What dishes are added?

The taste and aroma are strong when combined with lemon juice, berries and fruits. When marinating, meat or fish is rubbed with gruel from its leaves. Dried and fresh tarragon is used as a side dish for poultry, game, lamb, egg dishes. Shoots are often added to soups, broths, okroshka. Combined with juniper berries, it gives baked goods a forest flavor. Tarhun drink is popular among the people.

How to use it in medicine?

Since ancient times, tarragon has been considered a remedy for headaches and toothaches. After a heavy meal, it normalizes the gastrointestinal tract and eliminates stomach cramps.

The plant has a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antihelminthic effect.

Tarragon has tonic and soothing qualities, therefore it is useful for neuroses and sleep disorders.

The herb regulates the menstrual cycle in women. For men, tarragon (tarragon) helps to increase potency.

Reproduction, planting and care

Areas with direct sunlight are suitable for the plant. The soil is selected fertile, and planting is carried out in spring or autumn.

Reproduction methods

Tarragon propagates using cuttings, seeds, or splitting a bush. Seeds are planted before snow falls or early spring. With this reproduction, the plant loses its aroma.

In early spring or August, the bush is divided. In early May, cuttings are cut into 15 cm in length. At the bottom, the cut is made oblique. The shoots are planted in a greenhouse or under a film. After a month, it will take root and form a root system.


This is an unpretentious plant. After planting, it needs to be watered several times, loosened the ground and remove weeds. In the second year of the growing season, tarragon is fed with mullein or phosphorus-potassium fertilizers. Every 3-4 years, the bush is renewed, since taste is lost over time. Before winter, it is cut to the root.

When to Harvest?

Autumn is a good time for gathering the first year. Tarragon shoots are cut during the budding period, when the bush is green. In the second and subsequent years, the stems are cut during the summer. The last leaves are harvested at the end of August.

You can find all the secrets of growing this aromatic herb here.

Harvesting greens

The stems are cut at a height of 10-15 cm. The branches are washed in water and dried in the shade. Tarragon is stored in bunches or cut into pieces for up to 3 years. Young stems are folded into a jar and sprinkled with salt. Such a workpiece is kept in a cold place.

The leaves are poured with water and vinegar. The liquid should completely cover the branches. The tarragon and salt are poured over with olive oil. Thanks to this, the latter becomes spiritual. We described all methods of harvesting and storing tarragon in another material.

Where to buy and how to choose?

Dried tarragon is found in farmers' markets or in large supermarkets. Its taste and smell are not intense, but suitable for seasoning. When choosing, pay attention to the shelf life of the product. In St. Petersburg, 100 g of dried seasoning will cost 150 - 300 rubles depending on the manufacturer. Muscovites will pay 180 - 400 rubles for a similar package.

Fresh greens have a rich aroma, so sluggish and yellowed leaves are not taken. Among the species, it is better to stop at French tarragon. In Moscow, such greens are estimated at 100-450 rubles per 100 g, depending on the type. In St. Petersburg, the price for 100 g varies from 250 to 600 rubles.

What can be substituted in medicine and cooking?

Tarragon in sauces easily replaces mint, fennel and anise. Rosemary is often used as a substitute in dishes, but there will be no necessary piquancy. In canning, currant, cherry or horseradish leaves are used instead of tarragon twigs. They give the vegetables a crunch and a delicate aroma. Cranberry or currant juice is added to olive oil. In this case, there is no spicy aroma.

Lemon balm, St. John's wort, hawthorn have a general strengthening effect, therefore, the collection of these herbs is used to replace tarragon. Peppermint and chamomile normalize sleep. For the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, fennel, hops, anise, motherwort are used.

Interesting Facts

Tarragon is a plant with an interesting taste and aroma. It has been famous since ancient times for its medicinal and culinary properties. There are several interesting facts about tarragon:

  1. In Iceland, the herb is called fafnisgras, which translates as the herb of Fafnir, a dragon from Scandinavian mythology.
  2. The ancestors of modern Armenians rubbed the genitals with tarragon to maintain male strength.
  3. Mongolia is called the homeland of tarragon wormwood.
  4. In Arab countries, it is used against snake bites.
  5. In the old days, people chewed a tarragon branch for fresh breath.
  6. If you chew a lot of greens, your mouth will become numb and you won't feel a toothache.
  7. The plant is used in perfumery to create aromas.
  8. The tarragon brush is used for grilled meats.
  9. In Slovenia, it has become a component of sweet peanut pie.
  10. The spice is considered a salt substitute because it flushes out excess water and cleanses the intestines.

A plant with a bitter taste and a spicy smell has been popular since ancient times. Tarragon is widely used in medicine, perfumery, cooking and cosmetology. The spice does not have to be bought in the store, since tarragon grows at home.

Watch the video: Top 5 Companion Plants to Maximize Yields, Enhance Flavor and Deter Pests (June 2022).


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