Artemisia douglasiana

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Artemisia douglasiana
Artemisia douglasiana 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. douglasiana
Binomial name
Artemisia douglasiana
Besser ex Besser

Artemisia heterophylla Besser

Artemisia douglasiana (California Mugwort, Douglas's Sagewort or Dream Plant) is North American species of aromatic herbs in the sunflower family.[2] It is native to the Western United States (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho) and northwestern Mexico (State of Baja California).[3][4][5][6]

Its leaves have been shown to contain Thujone, which is suspected to have mild psychoactive properties, and Cineole, which is an antibacterial agent.[7]


Artemisia douglasiana is dicot, and a perennial forb. Its stems grow erect and range in height from .5-2.5 meters.[8] During its bloom period which ranges from May to October A. douglasiana features bell-shaped clusters of flowers containing 5-9 pistillate flowers and 6-25 disk flowers.[8] Its grey-green leaves are evenly spaced, elliptical, and lobed at the tips.[8] The appearance of the 3-5 lobes at the tips of its leaves may range from being seemingly absent to being highly defined. Its stems grow from a substantial colony of rhizomes which require a minimum soil depth of 16 cm and can grow in fine to coarse soils.[9] Although A. douglasiana can reproduce from seed it's primarily propagated from division and spreading of its underground rhizomes.[2]


Artemisia douglasiana prefers direct sunlight and moist soils, but tolerates shady areas and dry soils. It occupies hardiness zones 6a to 10b and occurs at elevations ranging from 0-3080 meters.[9] A. douglasiana is often found in ditches and streambanks.

Artemisia douglasiana's extensive rhizomes help prevent erosion by stabilizing streambanks. Its seeds are foraged by a variety of native birds and its leaves are used as nesting material by some native bees.[9] A. douglasiana is susceptible to infection by Xylella fastidiosa which causes Pierce's disease.[9]


Artemisia douglasiana was used by native American tribes to relieve joint pain and headaches, and to treat abrasions and rashes (including poison ivy). It was also used to treat women's reproductive issues, including irregular menstruation and was occasionally used as an abortifacient.

This plant also had ceremonial and spiritual purposes for many tribes. It was commonly carried to ward off spirits of the dead and was smoked or drunk as a tea to induce vivid dreams.[7][10][11]

This plant is often planted by modern herbalists for both medicinal and spiritual uses.


  1. ^ The Plant List Artemisia douglasiana Besser ex Besser
  2. ^ a b Flora of North America Vol. 19, 20 and 21 Page 524 Northwest mugwort, Douglas sagewort Artemisia douglasiana Besser in W. J. Hooker, Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 323. 1833.
  3. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  4. ^ Turner, B. L. 1996. The Comps of Mexico: A systematic account of the family Asteraceae, vol. 6. Tageteae and Athemideae. Phytologia Memoirs 10: i–ii, 1–22, 43–93.
  5. ^ CalFlora taxon report, University of California: Artemisia douglasiana (California Mugwort, Douglas' sagewort, Mugwort)
  6. ^ San Francisco State University, Biogeography of Mugwort by Laurel Poeton
  7. ^ a b "Information About California Mugwort". Indigenous Knowledge Project. 
  8. ^ a b c "A. douglasiana". Jepson eFlora. UC Berkeley. 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d "A. douglasiana: Plant Characteristics and Associations". Calflora. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Native American Uses of California Plants: Ethnobotany" (PDF). University of California, Santa Cruz Arboretum. 
  11. ^ Hunn, Eugene S. (1990). Nch'i-Wana, "The Big River": Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. University of Washington Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-295-97119-3. 

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