Aka French Tarragon. I thought I would share with you all my experiences today. I live about 2 blocks from Nick's Garden Center in Aurora, and have so far been impressed with their selection and service. I went over there today to relish in green and growing things (instead of the dead brown stuff in my own yard). I've been keeping an eye on what herbs they are growing, since that's a big part of what I'm putting into my garden this year.
Armed with warnings from you all, and from the Herb forum, regarding the difference between French Tarragon & Russian Tarragon, and the prevalence of garden centers foisting off Russian as French, I looked carefully at the French Tarragon offered at Nicks. It clearly stated "Artemesia Dracunculus" on the label. I then performed a taste test on one of the largest seedlings, one about 6" tall with good-sized leaves. It didn't taste like anything...At all. I thought perhaps that the tarragon doesn't develop it's flavor until it's more mature.
So on a whim, I went up to Timberline Garden Center in Arvada, and performed the same test on their clearly labelled (and similarly sized) "Artemesia Dracunculus." Wow! It immediately tasted of anise, and the characteristic "tongue numbing" was there too!
As happy as I was to find true French Tarragon, I am really saddened to know that Nick's is foisting off Russian Tarragon as French. This makes me very hesitant to trust any of their seedlings! How do I know they're not doing the same thing with other plant varieties?? Ack!
So, I ask you....What would you do? Would you still shop at the near place with the good selection that may not be trustworthy, or would you drive across the city to a place with less selection, but you know you can trust?