Return to Listings?

Artemisia afra

This perennial shrub is a very popular medicinal plant in South Africa. It can look slightly scruffy with its long stems but the soft, aromatic leaves more than make up for this. The leaves resemble those of ferns in shape, the upper parts are dark green, whilst the undersides and the stems are covered in small white hairs. These fine hair features give the plant its unique grey colour characteristic. 

Artemisia afra flowers in late summer, producing abundant bracts of butter-colored flowers, each approximately 3 to 5 millimetres in diameter.  The leaves and stems release a strong, sticky sweet smell when touched, cut or when any part of the plant is bruised.

This plant is used to treat a variety of ailments such as coughs, fevers, colds, chills, dyspepsia, loss of appetite and many more. The roots, stems and leaves can also be used as enemas, poultices, infusions, lotions, inhaled (e.g. smoked or snuffed), or as an essential oil. Finally, A. afra is a well known moth repellent and is used in organic insecticidal sprays.

Artemisia honours Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting whilst the species name afra means ‘from Africa’.

Family Name:
Common Name:
wild wormwood, African wormwood (Eng.); wilde-als (Afr.)
Plant Height:
up to 2m
Flower Colour:
Flowering Time:
March, April, May