SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus

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Artemisia dracunculus: INTRODUCTORY

INTRODUCTORY

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
 

 

2003 Michael Charters Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, www.forestryimages.org


AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Groen, Amy H. 2005. Artemisia dracunculus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
ARTDRA

SYNONYMS:
Artemisia dracunculoides Pursh
Artemisia dracunculus var. glauca (Pallas ex Willd.) Bess.
Artemisia dracunculus ssp. glauca (Pallas ex Willd.) Hall & Clements
Artemisia glauca Pall. [58]
Oligosporus dracunculus ssp. dracunculinus (S. Wats.) W.A. Weber
Oligosporus dracunculus ssp. glaucus (Pallas ex Willd.) A.& D. Lve [123]

NRCS PLANT CODE [119]:
ARDR4

COMMON NAMES:
tarragon
green sagebrush
silky wormwood
false tarragon

TAXONOMY:
The currently accepted scientific name for tarragon is Artemisia dracunculus L. (Asteraceae) [9,20,26,30,31,32,41,42,58,65,72,79,87,100,124,127].

LIFE FORM:
Shrub-forb

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
Tarragon was historically found in Missouri and there are some expectations that it may still exist there [86]. It is facing the likelihood of extinction in Wisconsin due to its rarity, but remains secure at a global level [128]. Tarragon is listed as endangered in Illinois [65]

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
 

 

  2000 Gary A. Monroe


GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Tarragon is a widely distributed species with a range that extends east from southern Alaska to Manitoba and south to northern Mexico [2,41,45,52,58,79]. Its distribution also includes Eurasia, with common occurrences in central Asia and Siberia [45]. A distributional map of tarragon can be accessed through Plants database.

ECOSYSTEMS [40]:
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AK AZ CA CO CT ID IL
IA KS MA MN MO MT NE
NV NJ NM ND OR SD TX
UT WA WI WY

CANADA
AB BC MB ON SK YK

MEXICO
Chic.

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [8]:
2 Cascade Mountains
3 South Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

KUCHLER [67] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K046 Desert: vegetation largely lacking
K055 Sagebrush steppe
K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe
K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

SAF COVER TYPES [34]:
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
245 Pacific ponderosa pine

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [111]:
101 Bluebunch wheatgrass
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
301 Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama
303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass
310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama
314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue
402 Mountain big sagebrush
408 Other sagebrush types
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
414 Salt desert shrub
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
507 Palo verde-cactus
608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass
609 Wheatgrass-grama
610 Wheatgrass
706 Blue grama-sideoats grama
721 Sand bluestem-little bluestem (plains)

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Canada: In Alberta, tarragon is associated with riverine environments. It can be found in river terrace depressions with thickspike wheatgrass(Elymus lanceolatus), slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus), and prairie flax (Linum lewisii). In southern Alberta, on an alluvial fan in the Kootenay Plains where fringed sagebrush (Artemisia frigida) and prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha) were plentiful, tarragon made up 16%-25% of the ground cover [122]. In southwestern Saskatchewan and neighboring southeastern Alberta, tarragon was found with green needlegrass (Nassella viridula), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), and creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) [12]. In southern British Columbia, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) were found on sites supporting tarragon populations [76].

Northwestern United States: In Montana, tarragon is associated with sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass (Artemisia spp.) communities. Other species within this community include soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca), broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), and blue grama (B. gracilis). Tarragon is also found within the skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata)/bluebunch wheatgrass community. Additional species in this community include soapweed yucca, wax currant (Ribes cereum) and buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.) [13]. Forbs associated with tarragon include ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) and common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) in Montana [44] and rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) in Wyoming [51]. Tarragon can also be found within Pacific ponderosa pine stands (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) [14,44].

Southwestern United States: In the southwestern states, tarragon is found in pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) woodland and interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) forest types [38,39,55,124]. In interior ponderosa pine forests, it occurs with mountain muhly (Muhlenbergia montana), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), and western yarrow (Achillea millefolium) [94]. In Arizona it occurs alongside rubber rabbitbrush, Apache-plume (Fallugia paradoxa), beardlip penstemon (Penstemon barbatus), and common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) [39], and has been identified at Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument [98]. Plant associates in New Mexico include goldenweed (Pyrrocoma spp.), prairie sagebrush (Artemisia frigida), tailcup lupine (Lupinus caudataus), gayfeather (Liatris punctata), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), rubber rabbitbrush, sandbar willow (Salix exigua), and black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) [22,37,38]. In southwestern New Mexico, tarragon was present 44 years after cessation of livestock grazing, occurring in the boxelder-Arizona alder (Acer negundo-Alnus oblongifolia) community type [84].

In Utah tarragon is associated with quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), fir-spruce (Picea-Abies spp.), salt desert shrub, and hanging garden communities. It can be found with rubber rabbitbrush, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), menziesia (Menziesia ferruginea), and wildrye (Elymus spp.) [124]. In Zion National Park tarragon is both common and modal in abandoned fields [49] and constitutes 2% of cover in quaking aspen communities [125]. In northern Utah it occurs on mountain grasslands where bluebunch wheatgrass is dominant [115].

In Colorado tarragon is found in marshes along the Colorado River with bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus), yellow salsify (Tragopogon dubius), and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) [113]. It occurs within 4 steppe communities in the foothills of the Colorado Front Range, constituting 0% cover and 1% frequency in big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea), and New Mexico feathergrass (H. neomexicana) communities and 4% cover and 34% frequency in the needle-and-thread grass (H. comata) community [88]. It has been found in little bluestem-sideoats grama (Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua curtipendula) community types [74] and on a disturbed site with Thurber fescue (Festuca thurberi), western yarrow, and dandelion [73].

In Nevada tarragon is found predominantly in the willow (Salix spp.) community types. It is associated primarily with stream benches, but also occurs on terraces, floodplains, seeps, and meadows. Its highest percentage and greatest range of average cover (1%-35%) occurs in the yellow willow (S. lutea)-mesic forb community type while its highest constancy occurs in the conifer-mesic forb community type [78]. In Texas, tarragon is found with manyflowered stoneseed (Lithospermum multiflorum) on Mount Livermore [56].

Great Plains: In North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, tarragon occurs in the little bluestem-sideoats grama community type [74]. It is found in the Black Hills of South Dakota with sedges (Carex spp.), blue grama, western wheatgrass, and Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus) [92], and occurs in the tallgrass prairie systems with big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) [53]. In Nebraska, it associates with prairie sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia), sand bluestem (A. gerardii var. paucipilus), and little bluestem [21].

Tarragon in the northern Great Plains can be found with western wheatgrass, blue grama, needle-and-thread grass, and mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana) [61]. In green needlegrass communities of western North Dakota, it is associated with blue lettuce (Lactuca pulchella) [103] and prairie reedgrass (Calamovilfa longifolia) [28].

Tarragon in southwestern North Dakota is associated with multiple habitat and community types. One of the habitat types in which tarragon is dominant is the prairie sandreed-threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia)-needle-and-thread grass habitat, where rush skeletonplant (Lygodesmia juncea) is a characteristic forb. The 2nd type in which tarragon is characteristic is the needle-and-thread grass-threadleaf sedge-needleleaf sedge-sun sedge (Carex duriuscula-C. heliophila) habitat, where fringed sagebrush and prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) are characteristic forbs. Other habitat types where tarragon was found include mountain big sagebrush-blue grama, mountain big sagebrush-shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), sand bluestem-prairie sandreed, western wheatgrass-needle-and-thread, western wheatgrass-blue grama, and little bluestem-creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) [57]. The community types that tarragon is associated with in southwestern North Dakota include prairie sandreed-needle-and-thread grass-threadleaf sedge, western wheatgrass-needle-and-thread grass-blue grama, western wheatgrass-green needlegrass-blue grama, western wheatgrass-blue grama-buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), and little bluestem-needle-and-thread grass-threadleaf sedge [126].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
The following description of tarragon has been compiled from the following sources unless otherwise noted [1,2,7,20,41,42,45,46,62,64,79,89,116,124,127]. This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identifying tarragon are available [2,7,42,45,62,124].

Tarragon is a woody, native perennial shrub with stem heights ranging from 15.7 to 59.1 inches (40-150 cm). Aerial stems arise from thick, horizontal rhizomes growing in clusters and singly. Leaves are alternate, 0.5 to 3.1 inches long (1.2-8.0 cm), and 0.04 to 0.24 inch (1-6 mm) wide. Basal leaves are cleft with 1 to 3 lobes. The inflorescence is a panicle with numerous flowers. Outer florets are pistillate and fertile, central flowers are sterile, and ovaries are abortive. The seeds are achenes. Seed size is approximately 0.06 inch (1.5 mm) in length.

Tarragon supports large numbers of adventitious roots containing interxylary cork (formed within xylem tissue), offering the plant protection in xeric habitats [89]. One individual in Los Alamos, New Mexico was found to have a rooting depth of 83.9 inches (213 cm) [38]. Tarragon forms associations with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae [96].

RAUNKIAER [102] LIFE FORM:
Geophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Tarragon reproduces both sexually and vegetatively [27]. Vegetative reproduction is from rhizomes [116,123].

Breeding system: Population outcrossing has been documented for sagebrush species [80].

Pollination: Sagebrush species are wind and self-pollinated [80], with insect-assisted pollination likely [120].

Seed production: When grown for culinary or medicinal purposes, it is reported that tarragon rarely produces seed [112]. When grown hydroponically, tarragon was reported to produce no seed at all [1].

Seed dispersal: Artemisia species are not able to disperse seeds far from the mother plant [120].

Seed banking: No information is available on this topic.

Germination: Commercially grown tarragon requires 10 to 14 days to germinate. Germination is dependant upon soil characteristics and weather conditions [131].

Seedling establishment/growth: No information is available on this topic.

Asexual regeneration: Tarragon regeneration is most commonly a result of rhizome sprouts [116,123].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Tarragon has a wide distribution that encompasses a variety of site characteristics. It can be found in riparian zones [81], on floodplains and terraces [47,78], and at high mountain elevations [15,90,124]. It occurs in open, often dry places [58] associated with soils ranging from dry and sandy to moist and silty [116]. It is found over the plains grasslands where conditions are favorable for shrubs [83] and on shaded mountainous slopes [10]. It tolerates temperatures ranging from -48 F to 111 F (-44 C to 44 C ), soil pH values from 4.9 to 8.9 [57,112], and a precipitation range of 5.7 to 51.2 inches (145-1300 mm) [16,112]. Additional site characteristics are provided in the table below:

State or
province
Location description Elevation range Precipitation range
AK Rocky slopes and roadsides [62] ---- ----
AZ Deep, well drained cinder soils [39]
Rocky, arid ranges [15]
3,600-7,550 ft (1,097-2,301 m) [10,15,39] 6.8-26.0 inches (173-660 mm) [39]
CA Arid mesas, hillsides, pine woodlands, and meadows [127]
Sandy, rocky alluvia [47]
Outwash fans and riverine deposits [47]
Dry sandy to gravelly soils from granitic parent material [91]
7,300-11,000 ft (2,225-3,353 m) [90,91] average 18.1 inches (460 mm) [47]
CO Upland loess deposits [74]
Undeveloped rocky and gravelly soils [82]
Sandy, dry marshes and riparian areas [50,113]
Well drained shale sediment [88]
1,325-10,300 ft (404-3,139 m) [27,50,104,113] average 8.5-12.3 inches (215-312 mm) [50,113]
ID Limestone derived from Paleozoic marine rocks [25]
Abandoned hayfields and pastures created in riparian zones [95]
---- ----
IL Dry sand and gravel prairies and barrens [52] ---- ----
KS Upland loess deposits [74] ---- ----
MT Stony, shallow, well-drained soils [44]
Mesoxeric to xeric dry valley zones [71]
Silt loam soils [48]
Medium to coarse-textured soils [33]
Steep, rocky, wind blown slopes with little vegetation [109]
3,000-8,202 ft (914-2,500 m) [27,44,48,81] average 11.6-50+ inches (294-1270 mm) [29,44,48]
NE Upland loess deposits [74] ---- average 22.0 inches (560 mm) [21]
NM Dry open slopes and plains [79]
Gentle slopes, sandy loam to sandy in texture [18]
Erosion channel bisecting a floodplain [22]
5,387-8,000 ft (1,642-2,438 m) [18,38,79] average 8.1-15.0 inches (206-380 mm) [18,22]
NV Stream benches, elevated terraces, meadow seeps and floodplains [78] 5,052-10,203 ft (1,540-3,110 m) [78]
ND Upland loess deposits
Fluvial sand and gravel capped with aeolian sand and silt [19]
Fine textured shallow soils; Rolling sandy uplands with well-drained soils; uplands and flat terraces with loam to clay soils; level or hummocky terraces with loam to clay soils [57]
Excessively drained, poorly structured sandy and sandy loam soils [16]
Silty range site; glacial till site; silty ridges and hilltops [103]
---- 5.7-27.0 inches (145-686 mm) [16,19]
SD Upland loess deposits [74]
Well developed limestone derived soil [92]
---- ----
TX ---- 1,000-8,751 ft (305-2,667 m) [56,100] ----
UT Xeric portions of prairie vegetation types [115]
Mid-elevation open mountain slopes [118]
4,003-11,000 ft (1,220-3,353 m) [27,49,124] 10.0-18.0 inches (254-456 mm) [49]
WA Gravelly, sandy loam with moderate permeability [110] 1,099 ft (335 m) [110] average 18.1-24.0 inches (460-610 mm) [110]
WY ---- 3,700-8,400 ft (1,128-2,560 m) [27] ----
AB ---- 3,300-4,000 ft (1,006-1,219 m) [12] ----
BC ---- 1,312-3,117 ft (400-950 m) [76] ----


SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Tarragon grows in the pine-oak (Pinus-Quercus spp.) woodlands on shaded slopes of the Rincon Mountains in Arizona [10]. In Utah, tarragon is recognized as a weedy plant species due to its ability to colonize disturbed sites [96]. In southeastern North Dakota, tarragon is considered a pioneer, transitional, and climax species with greatest frequency and cover as a climax species and the least as a pioneer species [16].

On a subalpine Earth flow that occurred in Colorado around 1923, tarragon was characteristic of both flow and slump areas during the 7-year period in which vegetation studies were being conducted (1947-1954, with the exception of 1953). It occupied both areas of disturbance with equal density and was important in both floodplain and xeric site revegetation [73].

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Flowering dates of tarragon are July to October [127].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: There is no information in the literature regarding fire adaptations of tarragon. It is likely that rhizomes located underground survive fire and sprout. Tarragon has been observed following prescribed burns [28,68]. It is unclear how seeds are affected by fire or if postfire seedling establishment is common in tarragon. Further research is needed on fire adaptations of tarragon.

Fire regimes: Tarragon is present in a variety of community types with a wide range of fire regimes associated with them. In ponderosa pine ecosystem types, understory fires occur at intervals of 2 to 10 years and mixed-severity fires occur from less than 35- to 200-year intervals. In pinyon-juniper ecosystems, tarragon experiences fire return intervals of less than 35 years [93].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where tarragon is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
bluestem prairie Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium <10 [66,93]
Nebraska sandhills prairie Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilus-Schizachyrium scoparium <10
sagebrush steppe Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [93]
basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata 12-43 [107]
mountain big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana 15-40 [5,17,85]
plains grasslands Bouteloua spp. <35 [93,129]
blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass Bouteloua gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii <35 [93,105,129]
paloverde-cactus shrub Parkinsonia microphylla/Opuntia spp. <35 to <100 [93]
wheatgrass plains grasslands Pascopyrum smithii <5-47+ [93,101,129]
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. <35 [93]
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [4]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [4,6,75]
mountain grasslands Pseudoroegneria spicata 3-40 (=10) [3,4]
little bluestem-grama prairie Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua spp. <35 [93]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [114]:
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Geophyte, growing points deep in soil

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
The immediate effect of fire on tarragon is not documented. Fire likely top-kills tarragon.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
No additional information is available on this topic.

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Current literature suggests that the response of tarragon to fire is variable [28,37,68]. It is likely that tarragon sprouts from rhizomes after being top-killed by fire.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
Tarragon has been observed before and after 2 prescribed burns and 1 natural fire [28,37,68]. Four years after a prescribed summer burn in western North Dakota, the frequency of tarragon was nearly 3 times that found in an adjacent unburned area. It was speculated that the increase was due to a reduction in interference of other species following the fire and the species' ability to inhabit disturbed sandy soils and roadsides [28].

On Hightower Mountain in western Colorado, tarragon experienced a 90% reduction in population 2 years following a prescribed burn. Composition of the population dropped from 0.11% to 0.01% [68]. In Los Alamos, New Mexico, tarragon constituted 0.14% actual cover and 0.30% relative cover in an area that had burned in 1960. After the 1977 La Mesa fire, studies conducted to determine long-term vegetative impacts found no tarragon 1, 8, or 16 years after the fire [37].

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Additional information on the response of tarragon to fire is necessary before management considerations are proposed.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Artemisia dracunculus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Tarragon provides forage for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, sharp-tailed grouse, and livestock [11,35,51,69,109,116,117,130]. Observations in the Flat Top Ridge Community of North Dakota suggest that tarragon is an important species for bighorn sheep [35]. For Rocky Mountain mule deer, amounts consumed in the summer constitute less than 1% of their diet with minimal amounts also being consumed during the winter and spring months [69]. Tarragon accounts for 6% of plants browsed by pronghorn and 1% for elk and mule deer in Wind Cave National Park of northwestern South Dakota [130]. In southwestern Utah tarragon is listed as intermediate in terms of its desirability as forage for domestic sheep [11].

Tarragon is listed as a warm season, native perennial range plant in Montana [70] and increases with browsing pressure in western North Dakota [103].

Palatability/nutritional value: Reports on the palatability of tarragon vary by region, habitat type, and foraging species. In west-central Montana, bighorn sheep, elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer browse on tarragon associated with bunchgrass communities; steep, rocky, wind blown slopes; and a 40- to 50-year-old burn [109]. A study conducted in eastern Washington found tarragon fair to poor in palatability while finding that populations of tarragon increase as a response to browsing [110]. In Wyoming, tarragon provides important forage for pronghorn during winter months and during spring and summer green-up [51] while providing seeds for sharp-tailed grouse in western states [116,117].

Tarragon in the northern Great Plains was rated 30% in palatability for cattle. It is aromatic but not bitter and does not do well under heavy browsing pressure [108]. Elsewhere in the Great Plains, tarragon is considered to have little value as forage [64] and in Nebraska is not browsed by cattle in June or July [21]. In Trans-Pecos Texas, it is considered good forage for cattle and wildlife [100].

Tarragon provides valuable forage for domestic sheep but has little value for cattle in western states [116,117]. Dittberner and Olson [27] report the palatability and nutritional value of tarragon for wildlife and domestic livestock in several western states as follows:

  Colorado North Dakota Utah Montana Wyoming
Cattle Poor Poor Fair Poor Poor
Domestic sheep Fair Fair Good Fair Fair
Horses Poor Poor Poor Poor Poor
Pronghorn ---- Poor Fair Poor ----
Elk Poor ---- Fair Poor ----
Mule deer Poor Poor Good Poor ----
Small mammals ---- ---- Fair ---- ----
Small nongame birds ---- ---- Fair ---- ----
Upland nongame birds ---- ---- Fair ---- ----
Waterfowl ---- ---- Poor ---- ----

Cover value: Tarragon cover for wildlife is rated as follows [27]:

  Colorado North Dakota Utah
Elk ---- ---- Poor
Mule deer ---- Fair Poor
White-tailed deer ---- Poor ----
Pronghorn ---- Fair Poor
Small mammals Fair ---- Good
Upland game birds ---- ---- Poor
Small nongame birds Poor ---- Fair
Waterfowl ---- ---- Poor


VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Tarragon is difficult to root [1] and does not establish well from seed. In southeastern Montana, tarragon was examined for future land reclamation possibilities on sites disturbed by coal mines. Hand-stripping the seed was necessary and optimum germination was obtained from 12 month old seed exposed to 68 F (20 C) temperatures without light or by alternating light with 68 F to 77 F (20-25 C) temperatures. This study determined that there was no optimal planting time[33].

In western North Dakota, tarragon made up 28% of the species found in unbrowsed plains grasslands bordering active mining sites, indicating a potential source for seed when reclaiming surface mine sites [63]. It has been suggested that tarragon also be investigated for its ability to regenerate salt desert shrub ranges [99].

OTHER USES:
Tarragon leaves are cultivated for beverages and used as a cooking herb [7,24]. Native Americans constructed brooms from tight bundles of stems and utilized the leaves to treat rheumatism [116,117] and swelling [132]. Tarragon has been used as a diuretic and emmenagogue (to promote menstrual discharge) and was thought to alleviate toothaches [112]. Tarragon can also be used in lotions and as a hair rinse [121].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Extracts derived from leaf material of tarragon displayed various effects on the germination of 18 species. Growth was inhibited in field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense), lacy tansyaster (Haplopappus spinulosus), and largebracted plantain (Plantago patagonica) while growth in needle-and-thread grass was enhanced [59]. Treatments of a 2,4-D, diesel oil mixture applied to control little spikemoss (Selaginella densa) on rangeland resulted in a 90%-95% reduction in tarragon density [106].

In western Colorado, the effects of spraying, burning, and chaining were evaluated for their effectiveness in increasing forage for deer, elk, and cattle. Although none of the treatments were significantly different (P<0.05) with effect to tarragon production, spraying reduced percent composition from 0.46%-0.01%, burning from 0.11%-0.01%, and chaining increased percent composition from 0.00%-0.01% [68].

Tarragon is one species of sagebrush which is fed upon in small amounts by the sagebrush grasshopper (Melanoplus bowditchi) [97]. In semiarid mountain ecosystems, the presence of ant mounds was positively correlated (p<0.01) to the occurrence of tarragon within a 3m radius of the mound [18].

Volatile oils found in tarragon can cause skin irritation in livestock [116,117].

Artemisia dracunculus: References


1. Agro Dynamics. 2005. Hydroponic herb growing instruction: Tarragon - perennial, [Online]. In: Hydroponics 101. Grodan Inc. (Producer). Available: http://www.hydroponics 101.com/sw47715.asp [2005, July 27]. [53841]

2. Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p. [9928]

3. Arno, Stephen F. 1980. Forest fire history in the Northern Rockies. Journal of Forestry. 78(8): 460-465. [11990]

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