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  2. artemesia dracunculus

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  1. Compositae family Language and mythology: The name tarragon is derived from the French word esdragon meaning 'little dragon' (probably in reference to the plant's serpentine root system, which may strangle a plant if it is not divided). The Roman scholar Pliny refers to its use for preventing fatigue. Thomas Jefferson was said to have been an early distributor of tarragon in America. Description: This glabrous green shrub has a branched root system with runners that produce erect, bushy, branched stems. The lanceolate to linear leaves are 1 to 4 inches long with smooth or entire edges. The small yellow or whitish green flowers are drooping and globe shaped in dense terminal panicles. The flowers rarely open fully and are usually sterile. The fruit is an achene. Plant type and hardiness: Perennial; hardiness zone 4. Height and width: Height 24 to 36 inches; width 24 inches. Light and soil: Full sun to partial shade; rich, sandy, well-drained loam with a pH of 6.9. Pests and disease: Root rot and mildew. C ultivation: Use cuttings or young plants to start tarragon. For cuttings, take 6-inch tips of shoots in late spring or summer, when new leaves are fairly firm. Remove lower leaves and place in a pot of growing medium, such as sand. Once the cuttings are rooted, plant them outside, preferably in mid summer. Plant seedlings in a sunny area with well-drained soil and keep watered. Cut back in autumn. Plants will die back to the ground in winter. Place grass clippings over the roots in severely cold climates. Plants should be divided every two to three years to ensure vigor as plants will weaken with time. Companion plantingThis aromatic herb generally enhances the growth of other plants, including most vegetables. Propagation method: Cuttings or division. Bloom time and color: Fall, should be harvested before blooming; greenish white to yellowish. Harvesting: This plant is best if harvested just as the flower buds emerge. Harvest until the leaves begin to turn yellow in the fall. Tarragon is best chopped in ice cube trays and frozen fresh with a little water added. Place on wire racks for quick drying; then store in airtight containers. It also can be stored in vinegars for added flavor and later use. Herbal uses: Culinary. Tarragon is used to flavor vinegars, herbal butter, shellfish, pork, beef, poultry, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and rice. Use the fresh leaves in salads, tartar sauce, and French dressi


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