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Etymology Wildflowers

Artemisia

This is a worldwide genus of aromatic plants, usually silver-gray foliage and inconspicuous flower-heads. Though artemisia is their botanic name, it’s often used as a common name – an easy identification for such varieties as Sagebrush, dusty miller, southernwood, old man, wormwood, and mugwort.

Some authorities say it commemorates Queen Artemisia of ancient history, who supposedly discovered the medical virtues of this genus and gave them her own name to show that they were her royal herbs. Others say, with equal authority, that the genus was dedicated to Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and the hunt, who also protected mortals from pestilence and disease. But whoever their patroness, native artemisias have been used in medicine by the Chinese, the Europeans, and the American Indians for tonics …

On the Missouri River. Went early to the bluffs, to the southwestward, on one of which I observed fourteen buffaloe skulls placed in a row. The cavities of the eyes and the nostrils were filled with a species of Artemisia common on the prairies… On my return, I caused our interpreter to enquire into the reason for this, and found that it was an honor conferred on the buffaloes which the Indians had killed, in order to appease their spirits, and prevent them from apprising the living buffaloes of the danger they run in approaching the neighborhood. -John Bradbury Travels in the Interior of America, 1809-1811

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Photography Wildflowers

Wildflowers