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A perennnial shrub, which is often grown as a herb for its aromatic leaves, the French variety (artemisia dracunculus) is the one to seek out. A Russian cousin (artemisia dracunculus dracunculoides) is also available, but although hardy, lacks the same depth of flavour. French tarragon grows up to 90cm in height, and has smooth, dark-green, narrow leaves, with a strong flavour. French tarragon can only be grown from cuttings, so all plants can trace their history back to ancient times.

However, it grows well in containers, and prefers a warm dry position, containers make it easier to protect from severe frosts; although the plant naturally dies back in winter. To buy French Tarragon see our Mail Order section under "Herbs".

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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