A look at a clustered strand of large Mugwort growth
Image by Ansel Oommen, Bugwood.org

A look at a clustered strand of large Mugwort growth.


Mugwort is an invasive perennial found throughout North America. It is native to Europe and eastern Asia and was historically used as a medicinal herb that is believed to be introduced to the continent by Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century. Mugwort has an extensive rhizome system which allows it flourish in dense strands in areas such as nurseries, turfgrass, vineyards, waste areas, forest edges and roadsides.

Mugwort emerges in the spring and flowers in the late summer and early fall. A single Mugwort plant can produce up to 200,000 seeds however, seed dispersal isn’t considered the main contributor to spread. Mugwort generally spreads through the expansion of its shallow root system and branching rhizomes. Mugwort is identified through its leaves which are alternative and covered in wooly, silver-white hairs on its underside with a slightly furry upper surface. The lower leaves of the plant are petiolate and either coarsely toothed or pinnately lobed while the upper leaves are sessile and lanceolate with smooth or toothed margins. Mugwort also tends to be slightly pungent when crushed,

Mugwort can be disruptive to the environment since their small root system can contaminate nursery stock as well as turf grass, ornamental crop growth and orchards. Larger populations of Mugwort can displace native species as well as disrupt the natural succession of a given ecosystem. The pollen from Mugwort is also considered a common cause of hay fever.

Due to the root system, Mugwort management can be difficult. For small infestations, multiple spot-treatments of glyphosate can be helpful as well as careful repeated mowing which may not eradicate its presence but keeps its population from spreading.


Mugwort webpage, This webpage from the New York Invasive Species Information website provides information on Mugwort its origins, biology, characteristics, impacts and prevention and control methods as well as its reported distribution in New York State.

Invasive Species Spotlight- Mugwort, This blog post on the New York State Parks and Historic Sites website discusses Mugwort and its presence in New York State as well as some information about its seed dispersal methods and origins and use.

Weed of the Month: Mugwort, This blog post from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden highlights Mugwort as the weed of the month. In this post, the identification of this plant as well as some basic information about this species is explored.

Artemisia vulgaris- Mugwort, This species profile from the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) compiles information about the impact of their species to the New York Area, management practices and controls as well as some basic background information and its state and federal statuses. 

Last updated March 22, 2022