Erect perennial shrub to 1.3 m tall, hairy. Stems branched. Leaves along stems, to 6 cm long, 1-3 times divided with narrow, thread-like lobes, glabrous above, hairy below. Capitula about 4 mm across, in dense panicles; summer. Receptacle glabrous. Involucral bracts with membranous margins. Florets yellow.
Origin uncertain but widely naturalised, particularly in S Europe
Widely cultivated as an ornamental and for flavouring.
Other tall shrubby species with mostly divided leaves are:
A. camphorata Vill. [A. alba Turra. A. incanescens Jord., the former sometimes listed as the cultivar 'Canescens'] from Europe and N Africa, which has capitula in narrow panicles, a hairy receptacle and yellow florets;
A. canariensis (Besser) Less. from the Canary Islands, which has capitula in dense leafy panicles, a hairy receptacle and yellow florets;
A. chamaemelifolia Vill. from mountainous areas of Europe, Caucasia, N Iran and Siberia, which has capitula in narrow, dense panicles, a glabrous or hairy receptacle and yellow florets;
A. pontica L., Roman Wormwood, from C and E Europe and W Siberia, which has capitula in narrow panicles, a glabrous receptacle and pale yellow florets.
Source: (2002). Asteraceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.