Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb that grows wild in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. The most common tarragon variety for cooking is the French tarragon. Still, most tarragon varieties are edible and used in the culinary world.
- 1. Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- 2. Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)
- 3. Lavender (Lavandula)
- 4. Common Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)
- 5. Long-Leaved Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus longissima)
- 6. Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)
- 7. Rocky Mountain Beardtongue (Penstemon strictus)
- 8. Silky Gold Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)
- 9. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
- 10. Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora)
Tarragon plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall. They have long, straight stems that branch into shorter lateral branches. The branches are covered with densely packed, thin green leaves. Tarragon leaves are long and thin. Tarragon plants also have small, yellowish-green flowers that grow on the stem’s ends.
Despite there being many ways to identify a tarragon plant, there are still others that look like it. Some of these plants are edible, while others aren’t. Some plants that look like tarragon include:
- Common sage – sage leaves have a similar shape to tarragon.
- Rosemary – although rosemary leaves are finer, they have a similar appearance to tarragon.
- Lavender – some lavender varieties have leaves that look like tarragon.
- Common yellow wood sorrel – the flowers resemble those of tarragon.
- Long-leaved eucalyptus – the leaves of a young plant look like tarragon leaves.
- Summer savory – the leaves and growth of the plant look like tarragon.
- Rocky Mountain beardtongue – the leaves resemble tarragon.
- Silky gold milkweed – the leaves and flowers look like tarragon.
- Rooibos – the flowers and plant structure resemble tarragon.
- Lemon verbena – the leaves are easily mistakable for tarragon.
Considering that not all these plants are edible, I suggest you learn how to differentiate them from the tarragon. Stick around as we consider how these 10 plants are similar to and different from tarragon.
1. Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is native to the Mediterranean but is exported worldwide for culinary uses. Sage plants grow up to 3 feet tall, giving them the same height as a tarragon plant. Sage plants also have long, thin leaves that grow on lateral branches of the plant, making them resemble tarragon closely.
Of course, one characteristic of sage is that it has a powdery white coating on the leaves. This is not a characteristic of tarragon, which is how you can distinguish between these plants. Sage plants also produce bright purple flowers instead of the yellow ones on a tarragon plant.
Related: 9 Plants That Look Like Sage
2. Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)
Like sage, rosemary shrubs produce purple flowers. Rosemary plants are also indigenous to the Mediterranean but are exported worldwide. A rosemary bush grows up to 4 feet tall, slightly bigger than a tarragon plant.
Although rosemary leaves are much smaller and finer than tarragon, they have a similar shape. The bush also grows like a tarragon plant, with the leaves forming on lateral branches. This makes it easier to mistake a rosemary bush for a tarragon plant, especially when the plants are still young.
Of course, rosemary has a signature scent, making it easier to tell these plants apart.
3. Lavender (Lavandula)
Another plant with similar features to tarragon is lavender. Broad-leaf lavender has the same type of leaves as tarragon. In addition, broad-leaf lavender has long, dark green leaves that remind one of tarragon leaves. However, the leaves have a slightly more wrinkly appearance than tarragon.
Lavender bushes also grow to about 3 feet tall, making them the same size as tarragon. When these flowers are not blooming, you could mistake a broad-leaf lavender plant for a tarragon bush. But again, lavender has a unique aroma that will help you distinguish easily between these two plants.
Related: 7 Plants That Look Like Lavender
4. Common Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)
The common yellow woodsorrel is another plant easily found in any forest. It is a low-growing plant with clover-like leaves. And while many parts of this plant don’t resemble tarragon, the flowers do. Like tarragon, common yellow woodsorrel plants have bright yellow flowers.
The flowers look a lot like tarragon flowers in their shape and color. Both plants have tiny yellow flowers with five petals and yellow centers. Common yellow woodsorrel flowers are a brighter color than tarragon flowers. Like tarragon, common yellow woodsorrel is also edible, although it isn’t used in cooking as often.
5. Long-Leaved Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus longissima)
Long-leaved eucalyptus trees also have leaves that look like tarragon. And, while the tree is still young, you might mistake it for a tarragon bush. When the eucalyptus tree is small, it also produces lateral branches on which the long, thin leaves grow. This makes it easy to mistake an immature eucalyptus tree for a tarragon bush.
But eucalyptus leaves don’t grow as densely packed as tarragon ones. Furthermore, the branches are a greyish-brown color. And, while tarragon is an edible herb, eucalyptus trees aren’t edible or used for cooking.
6. Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)
The summer savory is likely one of the plants on this list that looks most like tarragon. Although it grows only about 18 inches high, the summer savory has leaves similar in shape and color to a tarragon plant. Many have mistaken a summer savory for a tiny tarragon.
Like tarragon, the summer savory has long stems with shorter, lateral branches on which densely packed leaves grow. The leaves are long and narrow. They are the same color as tarragon leaves. However, while tarragon has green stems and branches, the stems and branches of summer savory are brown. The flowers also look different, which is how you can tell these plants apart.
7. Rocky Mountain Beardtongue (Penstemon strictus)
Rocky Mountain beardtongue also occurs in the wild in America. And, because it is the same size as a tarragon bush, it is easy to mistake one for the other. The rocky mountain beardtongue also produces long straight stems with lateral branches.
You will see long, thin green leaves resembling tarragon on the branches. However, while tarragon bares yellow flowers, the rocky mountain beardtongue has bright purple ones. Although rocky mountain beardtongue has few culinary uses, it is sometimes used medicinally.
8. Silky Gold Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)
The silky gold milkweed is native to South America and grows up to 3 feet tall, making it the same size as a tarragon plant. Like tarragon, this milkweed has long, straight stems and shorter branches. The leaves on the branches are long and thin, looking just like tarragon leaves.
The silky gold milkweed also has yellow flowers that grow on the ends of the stems. While the flowers have sharper petals, they are the same color and size as tarragon flowers. Unlike tarragon, silky milkweed is inedible. The sap will cause skin irritation, and the plant is poisonous when ingested.
Related: 8 Plants That Look Like Milkweed
9. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
Another plant with a similar structure and yellow flowers is the rooibos shrub. Also known as red bush, this herbal tea plant is native to South Africa. It is often used for herbal tea and is said to have healing benefits. Rooibos shrubs grow up to 5 feet tall and aren’t commonly found in the wild in America.
However, like the tarragon plant, rooibos shrubs have long, straight stems and shorter branches. The branches have sharp, needle-like leaves. In spring, the rooibos shrub also produces bright yellow flowers that remind one of a tarragon plant.
10. Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora)
Lemon verbena is another plant that is often used for tea. The lemon verbena bush grows up to 6 feet tall and is native to Chile and Argentina. If you encounter a lemon verbena bush, you might easily mistake it for a tarragon plant.
That is because the leaves of a lemon verbena plant look identical to those of a tarragon bush. The plant also grows similarly, with the lateral branches carrying the leaves. Lemon verbena produces white flowers with a unique aroma that helps you distinguish between this plant and tarragon.