AskDefine | Define tarragon

Dictionary Definition



1 aromatic perennial of southeastern Russia [syn: estragon, Artemisia dracunculus]
2 fresh leaves (or leaves preserved in vinegar) used as seasoning [syn: estragon]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A perennial herb, Artemisia dracunculus, from Europe and parts of Asia.
  2. The leaves of this plant (either fresh, or preserved in vinegar) used as a seasoning.


See also


perennial herb Artemisia dracunculus
the leaves of Artemisia dracunculus
translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

This article is about the herb; for the Freedom Call CD see Taragon.
Tarragon or dragon's-wort (Artemisia dracunculus L.) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. Corresponding to its species name, a common term for the plant is "dragon herb." It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to western North America, and south to northern India and Mexico. The North American populations may however be naturalised from early human introduction.
Tarragon grows to 120-150 cm tall, with slender, branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2-8 cm long and 2-10 mm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in small capitulae 2-4 mm diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets.

Cultivation and uses

Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole. French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but cannot be grown from seed. Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.) can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavour.
However, Russian tarragon is a far more hardy and vigorous plant, spreading at the roots and growing over a meter tall. This tarragon actually prefers poor soils and happily tolerates drought and neglect. It is not as strongly aromatic and flavoursome as its French cousin, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food. The young stems in early spring can be cooked as an asparagus substitute. Grow indoors from seed and plant out in the summer. Spreading plant can be divided easily.
Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Tarragon is one of the main components of Bearnaise sauce.
Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Georgia and, by extension, Russia. The drink—named Tarkhun (, , ), which is the Armenian, Persian and Russian word for tarragon—is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green.
"I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." --James Beard
Cis-Pellitorin, an isobutylamide eliciting a pungent taste, has been isolated from Tarragon plant.
tarragon in Arabic: طرخوم
tarragon in Bosnian: Estragon
tarragon in Breton: Stragon
tarragon in Bulgarian: Тарос
tarragon in Czech: Pelyněk estragon
tarragon in Danish: Estragon
tarragon in German: Deutscher Estragon
tarragon in Spanish: Artemisia dracunculus
tarragon in Esperanto: Estragono
tarragon in French: Estragon
tarragon in Indonesian: Tarragon
tarragon in Ossetian: Тархун
tarragon in Italian: Artemisia dracunculus
tarragon in Lithuanian: Vaistinis kietis
tarragon in Hungarian: Tárkony
tarragon in Dutch: Dragon (plant)
tarragon in Japanese: タラゴン
tarragon in Norwegian: Estragon
tarragon in Norwegian Nynorsk: Estragon
tarragon in Polish: Bylica estragon
tarragon in Portuguese: Estragão
tarragon in Romanian: Tarhon
tarragon in Russian: Эстрагон
tarragon in Slovak: Palina dračia
tarragon in Slovenian: Pehtran
tarragon in Finnish: Rakuuna (kasvi)
tarragon in Swedish: Dragon (växt)
tarragon in Ukrainian: Тархун
tarragon in Chinese: 龍蒿
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