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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

17 February, 2017

Mugwort: the natural insect repelent

It seems to me that mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is one of those plants never seems to flower because when it does flower its flower does not really look like we think a flower should look! I do not know whether that makes sense but I know what I mean ...
Mugwort is a member of the daisy family but daisy is not what you think of when you see it. The plant is a bit untidy and grows to between four and five feet tall wither several stems coming from the same root and each stem has several flower spikes coming from it at the top. Before the flowers open they are creamy white buds; when open the are a yellowish drown and then when they have gone over they are a darker brown. There is little or no colour at all which is unusual for daisies., Each flower within a flower spike is quite small, a bit like groundsel when seen close up, and is hardly a striking flower that you want to pick ans put in a vase! The flower spikes appear from July though until September and are faintly aromatic. The leaves are dark green and smooth on top and white and hairy underneath and the stems are generally tinged with red.
Mugwort grows in quite large patches on roadsides and on waste ground and is quite common in Dorset. Why mugwort? It was once known as midgewort as it supposedly repelled midges and over time midgewort became mugwort.
Mugwort: the natural insect repelent