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We can call it A Tale of Two Tarragons.

The perennial herb tarragon from the sunflower family has two varieties that bear contrasting qualities: the French tarragon and the Russian tarragon.

The French tarragon is not grown from seed whereas the Russian tarragon can be grown from seed. The French tarragon has a strong flavor profile which makes it one of the spices typically used by chefs. The Russian tarragon, in comparison, has a weaker flavor, but it makes up for it by producing more leaves and the milder taste makes it ideal for salads. French tarragon, when dried, can retain its flavor, unlike Russian tarragon which is quick to lose its flavor once cut and dried.

Classification Information:
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. dracunculus
Binomial name: Artemisia dracunculus

Tarragon Trivia

  • The Greeks have been using tarragon since 500 BC.
  • The Arabs call tarragon “turkhum” which means dragon, and the prevailing theory is that the name was inspired by the serpentine look of the plant’s roots.
  • Another name for tarragon is estragon. This is what the French call this plant.

Tarragon Buying Guide

You can buy potted tarragon plants if you want to start growing tarragon indoors or you can buy freshly-cut tarragon leaves, dried tarragon leaves, or powdered tarragon if you need any of these for cooking. If you are thinking of planting tarragon, tarragon seeds are also sold in the market, grocery, farmers market, or farm stand – whichever is accessible or near to you or whichever provides a wider variety of options.

If you can’t find what you are looking for here, you may also browse online and check if vendors there can sell you what you need. Always make sure to inspect fresh tarragon on display – smell it, check the condition of the leaves and stem, etc. Make sure to buy just enough for immediate use unless you have plans to preserve and stock it.

It also helps to familiarize yourself with the two varieties of tarragon commonly sold in the market.

  • French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’) – This is sweeter than Russian tarragon, characterized by its citrus and licorice flavor. The French tarragon is highly preferred by chefs. 
  • Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) – Also known as false tarragon, this type is bitter although noticeably taller than French tarragon, with narrower leaves that have almost no aroma and hardly no taste, except for some hints of melon and grassy flavor. A 2012 BBC article describes Russian tarragon as “upper-class grass.”

Tarragon Production & Farming in Texas

Tarragon prefers well-aerated soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.5. This is a hardy plant that can grow well in a sunny or partially shaded spot. Note that for French tarragon, it needs to propagate by root division, whereas the Russian tarragon can be grown from seeds.

Based on the USDA Hardiness Zone, Texas regions qualify as Zone 6 to Zone 9B. This means that French tarragon (hardy to Zone 4B) and Russian tarragon (hardy to Zone 4) are both difficult to grow here. This is perhaps the reason why Texas has come to embrace an alternative that it can grow in Zone 9 (Corpus Christi, Laredo, and McAllen) – the Mexican tarragon which is also known as Texas tarragon.


Insect pests are not a problem for tarragon. But care should be given because this plant is vulnerable to diseases such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, and root rot.

  • Powdery mildew
    • Sulfur plant fungicide
    • Copper fungicide
    • Mix potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to water (powdery mildew deterrent)
  • Root rot
    • Fungicides
    • Chloropicrin
    • Methyl bromide
  • Downy mildew
    • Dimethomorph
    • Dithiocarbamate
    • Metalaxyl-M
    • Fosetyl aluminium
    • Propamocarb hydrochloride


Tarragon is a plant considered native to Central Asia, Europe, Siberia, and Southern Russia. Tarragon was introduced to France (where it is now famous) in the 15th century courtesy of the Arabs who have been using tarragon since the 13th century. Today, France is the primary producer of tarragon. Other countries known to produce tarragon are Israel, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.


Freshly-cut tarragon sprigs are sold in sealed plastic or plastic containers. Tarragon seeds and dried tarragon powder are sold in plastic packs or bottles.

Enjoying Tarragon

If you chew raw tarragon or eat food flavored with tarragon, one thing you will notice is the licorice flavor, and you will also detect a scent similar to the smell of anise. To fully appreciate the flavor of tarragon, cook and eat food that it matches best, flavor-wise, like salmon, chicken, veal, and eggs. For vegetables, you should try eating artichokes, fava beans, asparagus, and carrots sprinkled with freshly-cut tarragon or cooked with dried tarragon or tarragon powder.


It is a great idea to preserve tarragon since it is better to have it on hand even if you don’t need it at the moment (if you cook regularly, I am sure there is always a reason to use tarragon!), rather than try your luck finding one when you need it. You can dry them. The easiest is to tie a bundle and hang it upside-down somewhere dry. After several weeks, you will notice the leaves becoming brittle. Crush it and store it in a clean container and store it somewhere cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. If you have a microwave, try the flash-dry technique. How long you put the tarragon in the microwave depends on how fresh it is, so for this one, you have to try different settings starting with 20 seconds. Once you hit the right spot, your tarragon will be brittle and ready for storage. 

Another way to preserve tarragon is by using your refrigerator and freezer. Just put the tarragon inside a plastic bag and put the plastic bag inside the refrigerator, or wrap it in a paper cloth or towel before putting it inside the refrigerator or freezer if you want it in good condition for as long as six months.

Another way of storing tarragon is by infusing vinegar with it by putting sprigs inside a bottle of vinegar. This way, you get to preserve the flavor of tarragon. Use the tarragon vinegar for recipes that require these two ingredients.


Tarragon is known for its reputation as one of the four fines herbes in French cooking and as the main flavoring component of the Béarnaise sauce. Tarragon is best when used for cooking chicken, fish, and egg dishes. 

A perfect Chakapuli – Georgia’s national dish – is the one with tarragon in it, while in Iran, the side dish known as sabzi khordan which is a mix of herbs and vegetables is seldom without tarragon in it. Pickling practices in Iran also makes use of tarragon. A perfect example is the khiar shoor or pickled cucumber. In Hungary, chicken soup is cooked using tarragon.

The young stem of the Russian tarragon is often used as a substitute for asparagus.

From these savory dishes, we move to sweet dishes that use tarragon like Slovenia’s potica, which is a kind of nut roll sweet cake.

Tarragon is not only for food. Drinks in many parts of the world benefited from the flavor of tarragon, such as the carbonated soft drink made and consumed in the countries of 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, called Tarkhuna.


The leaves of tarragon are an excellent source of iodine, mineral salts, and vitamins A, C, as well as B-complex vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, etc. Tarragon is also a source of phytonutrients that help keep the body stay healthy, while the poly-phenolic compounds in tarragon are considered by many as having the potential to help lower blood-sugar levels. Among herbs, tarragon is one of those with the highest antioxidant value. Tarragon boasts of having a high level of calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc content.

  • Calcium: 1139.00mg 
  • Iron: 32.30mg
  • Potassium: 3020mg
  • Sodium: 62mg

Nutritional Benefits:

Eating tarragon can help improve appetite as well as alleviate certain digestion-related problems. Tarragon helps protect the brain and heart from serious illnesses like heart attack and stroke. Individuals with insomnia may finally find restful sleep after eating tarragon or drinking tarragon tea.

When Are Tarragon in Season in Texas?

To find out when Tarragon are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 14 1%
  • Carbs: 2.4g 1%
  • Sugar: 0g 0%
  • Fiber: 0.4g 1%
  • Protein: 1.1g 2%
  • Fat: 0.3g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 2.9mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 2.4mg 4%
  • Vitamin A 199IU 4%
  • Calcium 54.1mg 5%
  • Iron 1.5mg 9%
  • Potassium 143mg 4%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg 6%
  • Folate 13mcg 3%
  • Magnesium 16.5mg 4%
  • Phosphorus 14.9mg 1%
  • Manganese 0.4mg 19%
  • Copper 0mg 2%
  • Zinc 0.2mg 1%


When are Tarragon in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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