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ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Wormwood, bsinthium, green ginger, madderwort • Hindi: vilayati afsantin • Kannada: ಉರಿಗಟ್ಟಿಗೆ Urigattige, ಉರುವಲು Uruvalu, ದವನ Davana • Malayalam: nilampala, shulabandha, tirunitri-pachcha • Marathi: serpana, surpan, surapeena • Sanskrit: damar, indhana • Tamil: மாசிபத்திரி Machipattiri, macippaccai • Telugu: moshipatri, tartiha • Urdu: afsanteen, qaisoom
Botanical name: Artemisia absinthium    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Wormwood is a perennial herb with a hard, woody rhizome. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m (rarely 1.5 m) tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands. The basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long stalks. Stem leaves are smaller, 5-10 cm long, less divided, and with short stalks. The uppermost leaves can be both simple and stalkles. Flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads, which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields. Flowering: June-September.
Medicinal uses: Its use has been claimed to remedy indigestion and gastric pain, it acts as an antiseptic, and as a febrifuge. For medicinal use, the herb is used to make a tea for helping pregnant women during pain of labor. A dried encapsulated form of the plant is used as an anthelmintic.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed on Shankeracharya hill, Kashmir.

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