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Plants and differences


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#1 robv60

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 03:28 PM

I'm wanting to start a garden growing some of the Absinthe herbs. I been searching the forum and had ran across some old posts regarding the similarities between Artemisia absinthium and "powis castle". Some stated that they thought they had A.a. but it turned out to be powis. Thus,  I want to make sure I can tell the difference if I find some locally, wild or otherwise. I've tried Google images but some that are labeled A. a. may actually be powis castle and vice versa - i cant tell. One of the older posts had pictures posted at one time showing the different species but the pics are no longer showing up in the post. If someone that knowingly has  A.a. would be willing to post a pic comparing the two or can describe what to look for to differentiate between them I would be in your debt.  :cheerz:​ 


Edited by robv60, 23 January 2014 - 03:29 PM.


#2 baubel

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 03:54 PM

I'm far from an expert on this, but we do have powis all over the place here as an ornamental plant.  It's low to the ground and provides ground cover.  I've never seen it taller than a foot.  All of the artemisia plants I've seen get well over a foot in height, so stems are a good indication.  I want to say the leaves are a little bigger on artemisia than powis, but I'm not exactly certain.  Some of the local nursery's have powis castle listed as a hybrid between artemisia absinthium and another artemisia, so it looks pretty similar.  I've had success in getting a.a. seeds from amazon.com to grow in pots and then planting them into ground. 


Edited by baubel, 23 January 2014 - 03:59 PM.

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#3 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 04:16 PM

Baubel's observations are correct.  Powis's leaves are somewhat more finely cut and smaller in general, and it tends to grow in a sort of mounded shape.  

 

The easiest way to tell is to taste it.  Powis Castle tastes unpleasant; absinthium tastes absolutely, unbelievably bitter and nasty.  Chances are that if it's for sale in a nursery, it's Powis Castle.  Every now and again you'll find Lambrook Silver, an absinthium variety, but it's getting more rare becsuse it just didn't take off in the ornamental trade.

 

It's tough to tell the difference from photos unless you have both in the same photo, showing relative scale, color, growth habit, etc.  For instance, these first two make absinthium and Powis leaf shapes look almost identical.  You can't tell from the image that the Powis leaves are much smaller.   The different colors aren't an indication, because depending on growth conditions and variety, both types run a wide range of colors.

 

absinthium:

Attached File  wormwood-artemisia-absinthium.jpg   42.75KB   2 downloads

 

Powis Castle:

Attached File  Powis Castle artemisia.JPG   53.99KB   2 downloads

 

Powis Castle:

Attached File  artemisiapowiscastle_jwb_2_lg.jpg   84.09KB   1 downloads


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#4 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 04:43 PM

Okay, so I went out in the garden and plucked a few leaves.  It's winter, so the growth isn't quite like it is during summer, but this may illustrate some of the differences.

 

In the foreground are a few leaves of Powis Castle; upper left is common absinthium, upper right is Lambrook Silver. 

 

Attached File  2014-01-23 16.26.42.jpg   42.5KB   32 downloads


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#5 Songcatcher

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:29 PM

I have that very spoon.  The only old one I've got. So far.


The room it smelled heavy of drinkin',  

and the sad silent song, made the hour twice as long,

as I waited for that sun to go sinkin'.


#6 robv60

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:44 PM

Gwydion, you sir are my hero. Thank you SO much! Your first two pictures above illustrate the problem I've been running into with the pictures on Google: there is no scale reference so the leaves look almost exactly the same.  Now, the third pic you posted of the powis castle from a little farther away definitely shows the leaves looking more "spindly and fern-like" compared to the absinthium. Your last post makes it quite clear that the absinthium leaves are much more robust in size compared to the powis castle. Its similar to the difference between a Maple leaf and a Sweet Gum, for the lack of a better analogy. Thank you again for taking the time to do that, it is very helpful.

 

Baubel thank you for your observations as well. If I find some established plants in the wild or a nursery Ill know to look for a smaller,lower growing and bushier plant. That is also VERY helpful!

 

Now, if I can only find some A.a. (and the other herbs) locally. THAT is going to be the next challenge. We used to have the best nursery down the road. They had the best herb collection around. They closed recently, sadly :( I can always buy seeds but I have much better luck with plants.


Edited by robv60, 23 January 2014 - 05:50 PM.


#7 robv60

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 05:59 PM

I have that very spoon.  The only old one I've got. So far.

 

I took notice of that spoon as well. I like it. 



#8 baubel

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:06 PM

Most nurseries I've been to have lemon balm/melissa.  I found hyssop at one nursery last summer.  Bronze fennel is pretty popular around here, but a gentleman who lives near my parent's home has some established fennel plants which are huge, I think he grew his from seed, but I've wondered about just planting a green fennel bulb from the grocery store.  I've done that with celery in pots, and they do just fine.  Grocery stores and nurseries seem to have all sorts of different kinds of mints as well, but if you plant mint have a very specific place for it and expect it to spread out.  Mint can overtake an herb garden in no time.  I've seen it send roots underneath four inches of a buried wooden divider.   


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#9 Joe Legate

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:09 PM

I know where you can get plenty of A.a. seeds. ;)



#10 robv60

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 06:49 PM

Most nurseries I've been to have lemon balm/melissa.  I found hyssop at one nursery last summer.  Bronze fennel is pretty popular around here, 

 

Lemon balm has never been hard for me to find around here. Fennel and Hyssop I can probably get fairly easily at another local nursery- heck, my local Lowes may even carry them in the spring. They usually have a unexpectedly good selection. My issues will definitely be the Absinthium, Anise and of course the elusive Artemisia Pontica which I may already have a lead for.... :shifty:​ .

 

I have to agree on the mint. I eventually had to kill off some Chocolate Mint because it was taking over and choking everything out. It grew underneath a concrete paver stone border lining my driveway and continued to follow along the seam between those two concrete surfaces , into my back yard, etc.  Smelled great under the mower though! Like mowing Andes Mints.



#11 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:02 PM

I can always buy seeds but I have much better luck with plants.

 

Absinthium grows really easily from seed.  If you can throw a rock at the ground and not miss, you can grow Aa. 


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#12 robv60

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 08:53 AM

Ha ha, that sounds pretty easy but never underestimate my ability to screw up the simple things. ;) Actually, it may be better to try seeds as i have the worst soil and will probably end up building a raised bed or growing everything in large pots. Damn Georgia clay. Seeds would let me get them started indoors until it warms up etc. .

#13 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 06:17 PM

Keep in mind that it is a weed; it thrives on poor soil in waste areas.  That said, I'm not sure how it will do with the high iron content of GA soil.


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#14 robv60

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 08:23 PM

If A.a. doesn't like high iron content then yes...it may not do well here. I'm in the Piedmont region of GA so our soil's iron content percentage may only be bested by our humidity ;) My soil isn't as bad as some I've seen but its Ga red clay nonetheless. I think the bigger problem I have is my soil's VERY poor drainage. The slightest rain shower will create puddles and a long lasting storm will cause the ground to be squishy for days. This is why we've resorted to raised beds and pots for most things.   While most weeds such as Clover, Dandelion and Thistle seem to loooooove my back yard, I have a feeling A.a. may be the one weed that I want to grow in my back yard that may not thrive -the rest love torturing me. All that being said, some things grow pretty well here so It should be an interesting experiment at least.


Edited by robv60, 25 January 2014 - 08:25 PM.



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