French tarragon (4. dracunculus) is a selected form of exceptional flavor. It rarely sets seed, especially in cool climates, although it may produce tiny, greenish, ball-shaped inflorescences. Its slender linear leaves are warmly aromatic, with a complex fragrance and taste that blends sweet anise, basil and resinous undertones.

Russian tarragon [A. drocunculoides) regularly flowers and sets viable seeds. It often improves in flavor the longer it is grown, but seed-grown Russian tarragon has an earthy balsamic scent.

Winter tarragon, or Mexican mint marigold or Mexican tarragon or sweet mace [Tageteslucida), is a true mimic of

French tarragon IArtemisia dracunculus)

French tarragon IArtemisia dracunculus)

Following the Doctrine of Signatures (see page 49), tarragon was used against venomous bites.

French tarragon. A half-hardy perennial with finely toothed, linear, deep green aromatic leaves, it produces a lavish display of small, bright golden flowers, borne in clusters in autumn to 2.5 ft. (75 cm).

• Position Winter tarragon thrives in hot, humid climates. French tarragon is cold-hardy and drought-resistant, and can grow in high summer temperatures. It is, however, very susceptible to high humidity and easily infected with fungal diseases. Avoid overhead watering.

• Propagation Propagate French tarragon by tip cuttings in spring and early autumn, or by root division.

• Maintenance Regularly thin plants of French tarragon by harvesting. Remove any diseased branches.

• Pests and diseases Tarragon is susceptible to nematodes (eel worms) and leaf fungal diseases, particularly rust.

• Harvesting and storing Harvest foliage until mid-autumn.

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