Artemisia verlotiorum

Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte (China) – A rare but increasing, locally naturalised alien. First recorded in 1937 on wasteland in Brussel (Heizel). Subsequently observed in scattered additional locations. Known since the 1950’s from the borders of river Leie near Wervik and from at least two locations in Evere (Brussel). Verloove (2003) provides an up-to-date overview of its distribution pattern in Flanders (see also Verloove 2002, 2006). In the past years several new records of Artemisia verlotiorum came to light but most are concentrated around the largest cities in Flanders (Antwerpen, Gent) and in Brussel. In 2009 also discovered on the verge of several clay-pits near Kortrijk and Mouscron. It is much rarer in Wallonia: recent records are available from Antoing and La Louvière. Artemisia verlotiorum is usually found on wasteland, canal- or riverbanks, road verges or off-ramps. So far, it is nearly absent from natural habitats (one record in ruderalised coastal dunes in St.-Idesbald). Elsewhere in Europe, Artemisia verlotiorum is increasingly reported as an undesirable environmental weed, for instance on riverbanks. The exact vector of introduction of Artemisia verlotiorum in Belgium is obscure. It only reproduces clonally and it is chiefly dispersed by transported rhizomes.

Artemisia verlotiorum is probably still under-recorded in Belgium (as a result of confusion with native A. vulgare). Artemisia verlotiorum usually grows in lax groups, herbage is pure, dull green (not greyish green) and in autumn plants are still in a fresh state (when A. vulgare has mostly decayed). Plants of Artemisia verlotiorum only start flowering in late autumn or not at all. Seeds are never produced.

A hybrid between Artemisia vulgaris and A. verlotiorum was recently described from the British Isles (James & al. 2000). It should be looked for in Belgium as well.

The Artemisia vulgaris-verlotiorum complex is still insufficiently known and other related species might have been overlooked in Belgium and elsewhere in western Europe. They are all very similar in general appearance. A single railway yard in Romania yielded three species that are related to Artemisia verlotiorum (Sîrbu & Oprea 2011). One of these, Artemisia argyi, was recently also recorded in the Netherlands (Rotterdam, comm. R. Andeweg). It is much reminiscent of Artemisia verlotiorum but is more densely hairy and its upper leaves are entire. Moreover, its leaves are obviously white or brown gland-dotted. This character usually also occurs in Artemisia verlotiorum (Ling & al. 2006) but apparently less evidently so in the western European populations.

Herbarium specimen

Heusden, August 2009, W. Vercruysse Heusden, August 2009, W. Vercruysse


Selected literature:

Andeweg R. (2007) Herfstalsem (Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte) aangetroffen in Rotterdam. Gorteria 32: 53-55.

Cocora-Tietz G. (2006) Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte, ein wenig beachteter Neophyt. Ber. Bayer. Bot. Ges. 76: 271-272.

Brenan J.P.M. (1950) Artemisia verlotorum Lamotte and its occurrence in Britain. Watsonia 1(4): 209-223.

Dubovik O.N. & Mosyakin S.L. (1991) Artemisia verlotiorum (Asteraceae), a new adventive species of the north Caucasus flora (in Russian). Bot. Zhurn. 76(10): 1408-1411.

Gabrielian E. & Xirau Vallès J. (1996) New data about the genus Artemisia L. (Asteraceae) in Armenia. Willdenowia 26: 245-250.

Green P. (1998) Artemisia verlotiorum: new to Scotland. BSBI Scottish Newsl. 20: 23.

Gutte P. (1972) Artemisia verlotorum Lamotte - eine für die Tschechoslowakei neue Art. Preslia 44: 47-49.

Hultén E. (1929) The provenience of Artemisia verlotorum Lamotte. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 23: 496-505.

James C.M., Wurzell B.S. & Stace C.A. (2000) A new hybrid between a European and a Chinese species of Artemisia (Asteraceae). Watsonia 23: 139-147.

Kloos A.W. (1937) Aanwinsten voor de Nederlandse flora in 1936. Nederl. Kruidk. Arch. 47: 136-154.

Korneck D. (1966) Artemisia verlotiorum Lamotte als Neubürger im unteren Maingebiet. Hessische Floristische Briefe 15: 45-47.

Ling Y.R., Humphries C.J. & Shultz L. (2006) Artemisia. In: Wu Z.Y., Raven P.H. & Hong D.Y. (eds.), Flora of China, Vol. 20 (Asteraceae). Beijing: Science Press, and St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.

Mosyakin S.L., Boiko G.V. & Glukhova S.A. (2019) Artemisia verlotiorum (Asteraceae) in the continental part of Ukraine: now in Kyiv. Ukrainian Botanical Journal 76(1): 3–8. [available online at:] 

Saintenoy-Simon J. (1995) Artemisia verlotiorum à Evere. Adoxa 6-7: 1-4.

Sîrbu C. & Oprea A. (2011) New records in the alien flora of Romania (Artemisia argyi, A. lavandulaefolia) and Europe (A. lancea). Turk. Journ. Bot. 35: 717-728.

Verloove F. (2002) Ingeburgerde plantensoorten in Vlaanderen. Mededeling van het Instituut voor Natuurbehoud n° 20: 227 p.

Verloove F. (2003) Artemisia verlotiorum in Vlaanderen: recent uitbreidend of lang over het hoofd gezien? Dumortiera 81: 76-81.

Verloove F. (2006) Artemisia verlotiorum. In: Van Landuyt W., Hoste I., Vanhecke L., Van den Bremt P., Vercruysse W. & De Beer D., Atlas van de flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Nationale Plantentuin van België en Flo.Wer: 162.

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