Tarragon (Dracunculus)

The Tarragon (Dracunculus) is generally described as a perennial subshrub or forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: Tarragon had a wide array of medicinal uses among the Chippewa. The root was used as a gynecological aid to reduce excessive flowing during the menstrual cycle and to aid in difficult labor. The leaves of tarragon were chewed for heart palpitations. The root was also used to make a bath for strengthening children and a steam for strengthening elders. The Shuswap used the plant as a gynecological aid during childbirth. The Shuswap also burned tarragon to keep away mosquitoes. The Ramah Navaho made a lotion from the plant to aid in healing cuts.

General Characteristics

General: Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Tarragon is a native perennial herb (5-15 dm tall). The stems form clusters and are reddish in color. They can be smooth or covered with short hairs. The leaves are linear to linear-lanceolate. The leaves range in size from 2-8 cm long and up to 6 mm wide. The inflorescences are branched and elongated with pedicellate flowers that mature from the bottom up. Both the whorl of bracts subtending the flower and the stalk of the inflorescence are hairless. The outer florets are fertile but lack stamens. The center florets are sterile.

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Habitat: Tarragon is found in dry open places. Common in areas of disturbance, tarragon, increases in frequency where disturbance results in decreased competition.

Adaptation Tarragon is a fire-adapted species. It is top-killed by low-intensity fire, however, it is able to reestablish quickly from surviving rhizomes.


It is endangered in Illinois as of 2006. Weediness This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use.

General Upkeep and Control


Plant Basics
General Type Subshrub, Forb/herb
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA