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Fact sheet: Tarragon

Common name: Tarragon

Scientific name: Artemesia Dracunculus

Family: Compositae

Uses: Culinary.Tarragon is used to flavor vinegars, herbal butter, shellfish, pork, beef, poultry, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and rice. Use the fresh leaves in salads, tartar sauce, and French dressing.

History: The name tarragon is derived from the French word esdragon meaning

Description: This glabrous green shrub has a branched root system with runners that produce erect, bushy, branched stems. The lanceolate to linear leaves are 1 to 4 inches long with smooth or entire edges. The small yellow or whitish green flowers are drooping and globe shaped in dense terminal panicles. The flowers rarely open fully and are usually sterile. The fruit is an achene.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zone 4.

Height: 24 to 36 inches

Width: 24 inches

Soil: rich, sandy, well-drained loam with a pH of 6.9

Disease: Root rot and mildew.

Cultivation: Use cuttings or young plants to start tarragon. For cuttings, take 6-inch tips of shoots in late spring or summer, when new leaves are fairly firm. Remove lower leaves and place in a pot of growing medium, such as sand. Once the cuttings are rooted, plant them outside, preferably in mid summer. Plant seedlings in a sunny area with well-drained soil and keep watered. Cut back in autumn. Plants will die back to the ground in winter. Place grass clippings over the roots in severely cold climates. Plants should be divided every two to three years to ensure vigor as plants will weaken with time.

Companion planting: This aromatic herb generally enhances the growth of other plants, including most vegetables.

Propagation: Cuttings or division.

Flowering period: Fall, should be harvested before blooming

Garden notes: None available.

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Sold at Nassau County Master Gardener Plant Sale