From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Common Name: French Tarragon
Scientific Name: Artemisia dracunculus sativa
Description: Hardy perennial herb; Grown for edible, aromatic foliage
Size: Forms a clump to 2 feet tall and with a similar width
Cultural Information: Prefers full sun and well-drained, moderately rich soil
USDA Zones: 3 through 7
Historical Notes: French Tarragon was Thomas Jefferson's favorite herb. He made several inquiries to locate it in 1806, and was sent a shipment of roots by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon on April 30th of that year. The species Artemisia dracunculus was in American gardens before the Revolution. While this may have been the inferior Russian Tarragon, which has no culinary use, the type sold here is the selected, sterile clone so essential in French cuisine. It is used in Bearnaise sauce, vinegars, and in fish and chicken dishes. Like other wormwoods, French Tarragon has a stimulating effect on the whole digestive system.
Primary Source References
- ↑ This section is based on Peggy Cornett, CHP Information Sheet.
- ↑ Betts, Garden Book, 318.
- ↑ Please note that this list should not be considered comprehensive.
- ↑ Ibid, 313. Polygraph Copy at the Library of Congress.
- ↑ Ibid, 322. Copy at the Library of Congress.
- ↑ Ibid, 402. Copy at the Library of Congress.
- Look for more of Jefferson’s references in his Garden Book
- McMahon, Bernard. The American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806 (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997), 11, 198, and 511.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants