Originally from Southern Europe, Appleringie has been grown in gardens since 1548. It is favoured for its silvery foliage which has a distinct sweet aroma and is known to discourage insects. For this reason it was often planted near the house, bunches were also cut and brought indoors to discourage flies, bees and wasps. It was said to have been carried by the Egyptian priests as they approached the temple of the goddess Isis who was seen as the mother of all things.
The Latin name is derived from the Greek Goddess Artemis, protector of the moon, birth and women. In ancient times the temples of Artemis were not only places of worship but centres of healing especially for women during confinement.
Later the followers of the Christian faith often planted it near grave stones, hence its association with death. It is even associated with marriage, as it was used by young men as a button hole during courting rituals in many parts of Britain right up until the First World War, when it was thought to be a sign of affectionate fidelity.