Louisiana Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana)

The smell of Louisiana Sage fills my whole being. It is used as a purifier in religious ceremonies, no surprise to me.

Two years ago I saw a patch of Louisiana Sage in a ditch, jumped out of my truck and ripped a stem right out of the ground, it looked pretty mangled so I ripped another one out. Jumped back in my truck and headed home.  When I drove by that spot today, they were all gone.  The bulldozer came by earlier and scraped the ditches out.  I may as well have brought a shovel and taken them all.

You don’t have to jump out of your car and into a ditch for Louisiana Sage… it is readily available in nurseries in a couple “improved” versions, the most common is Silver King.  It is also native, in many gardens, and a piece of the rhizome will sprout a new plant.

I got a shovel and planted both pieces near my back door. It was about this time of year, they were seeding out. They dried out some but it got cold and snowed and I could not tell whether they rooted or not.

Last spring they both came up and spread a little bit. Yay! Still, there wasn’t enough to cut off and use without endangering the plant. This is called deferred gratification.

This year those two twigs have spread out and covered about 5 square feet! Gratification is at hand.

It is storming again so I am not going to harvest just yet. But soon.

Like culinary sage, Louisiana Sage can be used to flavor meat. I use it occasionally for tea but it has a lot of medicinal uses and I don’t like to eat medicinals too much. Pregnant women should not drink this one.

I do like this plant and I will dry enough to fill a quart jar.  A strong tea makes a deodorant and antiperspirant.   You can also use it on your feet.  A little goes a long way, so don’t make much.  Keep it in the refrigerator and a cotton ball makes a good applicator.  I am not but some people are allergic, so test it out first.

As for my Food Forest companions, deer avoid this one but bees and butterflies like it.  Animals are known to eat medicinals when they are sick, so I will take a few pieces and plant them up the hill.  Since they are deer resistant I am thinking where I can use them to “cage” a tender plant against the deer.  Sometimes a Food Forest niche looks like keeping the deer from decimating young plants.

A (free to me) circular economy plant cage is much prettier than a market economy metal cage.  Just sayin.

It hosts Painted Lady Butterflies (Vanessa cardui) but they host on a wide variety of plants, including the two types of mallows I have in my Food Forest.   I have Painted Ladies so I will check the leaves for butterfly eggs before I cut any stems.

This plant has so many medicinal applications that it is a mainstay for an herbal garden.  I keep medicinals in my garden even though I am not a healer, I like the image of a wise woman.  Ahhhh to be wise!  What a wonderful thing to aspire to.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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