Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

tarragon Artemisia dracunculus, a plant indigenous to Siberia, S. Russia, and W. Asia, was virtually unknown in Europe in classical times and only began to turn up as an ingredient in Italian and French cookery in the late medieval period. It was introduced to England in the 16th century.

There is a distinction, important for cooks, between what is really the wild form of the plant, known as Russian tarragon, and A. dracunculus var sativa, which is French tarragon. The latter is greatly preferable; the former has a coarser flavour.