The species name, artemisiifolia, is given because the leaves were thought to bear a resemblance to the leaves of Artemisia, the true wormwoods.
The plant is native to: North America across Canada, the eastern and central United States, the Great Plains, and in Alaska; the Caribbean on Cuba, Hispaniola, and Jamaica; and South America in the southern bioregion (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay), the western bioregion (Bolivia, Peru), and Brazil. The distribution of common ragweed in Europe is expected to expand northwards in the future.
It is the most widespread species of the genus in North America, to which most of the other species of Ambrosia are endemic. During the summer it causes allergic reaction in those that are susceptible, the time of greatest risk being the second week of August.
It produces 2–4 mm obconic green to brown fruit. It sets seed in later summer or autumn. Since the seeds persist into winter and are numerous and rich in oil, they are relished by songbirds and upland game birds.
Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is a widespread invasive species, and can become a noxious weed, that has naturalized in: Europe; temperate Asia and the Indian subcontinent; temperate northern and southern Africa and Macaronesia; Oceania in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii; and Southwestern North America in California and the Southwestern United States.
Common ragweed is a very competitive weed and can produce yield losses in soybeans as high as 30 percent. Control with night tillage reduces emergence by around 45 percent. Small grains in rotation will also suppress common ragweed if they are overseeded with clover. Otherwise, the ragweed will grow and mature and produce seeds in the small grain stubble.
Its wind-blown pollen is highly allergenic.
As of 2005[update] several herbicides were effective against common ragweed, although resistant populations were known to exist. In 2007 several Ambrosia artemisiifolia populations were glyphosate resistant, exclusively in the USA.
As of 2014[update] the ragweed leaf beetle, Ophraella communa, has been found south of the Alps in southern Switzerland and northern Italy. Many of the attacked plants were completely defoliated. Zygogramma suturalis was introduced to Russia, and then China, for ragweed control, with very positive initial results.
SMARTER is a European interdisciplinary network of experts involved in the control of ragweed, health care professionals, aerobiologists, ecologists, economists, and atmospheric and agricultural modellers.
Chemical composition, and uses
Sesquiterpene lactones and molluscicide
Three sesquiterpene lactones isolated from the aerial parts of Ambrosia artemisiifolia were identified as psilostachyin A, psilostachyin B and psilostachyin C. All of them have some molluscicidal activity against the small tropical freshwater snail Oncomelania hupensis.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ambrosia artemisiifolia.|
- Essl, F.; Biró, K.; Brandes, D.; Broennimann, O.; Bullock, J.M.; Chapman, D.S.; Chauvel, B.; Dullinger, S.; Fumanal, B.; Guisan, A.; Karrer, G. (2015). "Biological flora of the British Isles: Ambrosia artemisiifolia" (PDF). Journal of Ecology. 103 (4): 1069–1098. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12424.
- Calflora Database: Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed, Common ragweed, Low ragweed)—non-native/naturalized species in California
- Jepson Manual eFlora (TJM2) treatment of Ambrosia artemisiifolia—non-native/naturalized species in California
- UC CalPhotos gallery: Ambrosia artemisiifolia