Demand for Artemisia arbotanum from day one high

Artemisia arbotanum – photo: Hishtil

Artemisia arbotanum – photo: Hishtil

“Grow some Artemisia arbotanum in your backyard, roof or terrace and you’ll have no need to buy caramel-colored drinks. Just pluck some leaves to flavor hot and cold beverages, and even salads, stews and stir-fries”, advices Israeli young plant producer Hishtil Nurseries. This Artemisia is also known as cola plant. It is one of about 250 kinds of culinary herbal plants exported by Hishtil for sale in supermarkets, garden centers and DIY stores across Western Europe and North America. “We are always searching for specialty varieties from collectors all over the world to bring another taste and look to the garden and the kitchen,” says Ofir Elasar, marketing and sales manager for Hishtil.
From niche to mass-market
This variety, from the same family as tarragon, was discovered with a collector in Germany, and was available for sale only as a niche product. Hishtil imported it to Israel and used its agronomic expertise to develop the cola plant into a mass-market product about three years ago. The company positions itself now as the leading seller of Artemisia arbotanum. In 2016 Hishtil has sold nearly 100,000 plugs and cuttings of the cola plant globally. “We sell it more for export than for the local market because in Europe it’s well known. Demand was high from day one,” says Elasar. He also says this hardy perennial grows well in any kind of garden, including urban gardens, and has a taste and fragrance like cola with a very light anise overtone.