What is the difference between tarragon and a weed?

Not much if you had asked me yesterday.  I’m still not quite sure really what tarragon is supposed to be and I’ve surely never tasted it before and thought “Aha! what a lovely tarragon flavor!”

Last year I tried growing a container garden.  I planted Serrano peppers, cilantro, mint, cayenne peppers, tarragon and basil.  Of all those plants, only the Serrano, cilantro and basil managed to live (through no fault of my own) and I never saw a peek of the rest.  (The Serrano’s were super though, I got at least 20-30 peppers from it!) Since I’m a lazy container-gardener I let all the pots sit empty since winter and only yesterday actually re-planted some of the seeds.  However one of my pots had been taken over by a giant weed and when I pulled it out of the pot, it had rooted so well that it took all the dirt with it!  I was rather aggravated with the weed and threw it out without thinking about why it had grown in one of my planter pots and why none of the other pots had grown weeds at all.  A dim bulb tried to shine when I got out my seed packs from last year and I passed over the tarragon.  The picture on the front looked suspiciously like the weed I threw out earlier.  I went on planting my seeds and then came inside to look for recipes for our next meal.  I  found recipe that sounded tasty using mayo and tarragon..tarragon? There’s that word again.  Also, a picture of some chopped tarragon with the recipe that looked even more suspicious than the seed packet.  I Googled for pictures of tarragon and I read how tarragon can be “difficult to cultivate from a seed”.  It dawned on me that maybe I actually had a vibrant tarragon bush on my hands…or in the garden trash as it were.

So I then I ran outside and tore a bit off the top out of the trash-can to compare it to the pictures I was seeing…very very close resemblance.  I tasted a leaf and it was very aromatic with a hint of grass, moderate mint/lemon flavor followed by a kick of spicy pepper. Then I made Daniel taste a leaf too just in case.  That description is pretty much what the seed packet had promised…last year.   Long story short, I pulled the plant out of the trash and re-potted it.  I’m fairly sure I’ve got the Russian variety as it is described as being “happy with neglect” according to the Wikipedia article.  It’s a little wilted right now but I think it might forgive me…on the upside, I know it isn’t going to take much to keep it growing!

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