tarragon târ´əgŏn [key], perennial aromatic Old World herb (Artemisia dracunculus) of the family Asteraceae (aster family), of the same genus as wormwood and sagebrush. It has long been cultivated in Europe and W Asia for its leaves, used for flavoring vinegar, salads, sauces, soups, and pickles. Its essential oil, sometimes called estragon, is occasionally used in perfume or, in the Old World, medicinally to stimulate appetite or as a diuretic. Tarragon is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants