Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of J.S. Peterson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Big sagebrush

Scientific name
Artemisia tridentata
Plant Family
Big sagebrush are tall, rounded shrubs with wedge-shaped leaves with 3-5 teeth at the tips. They have a strong turpentine-like odor and small, inconspicuous flowers.
Identification Hints

Big sagebrush are tall, rounded shrubs with wedge-shaped leaves with 3-5 teeth at the tips. They have a strong turpentine-like odor and small, inconspicuous flowers.

Did You Know?

Sage grouse depend on big sagebrush for food more than any other species. Up to 70 to 75% of their diet is composed of the leaves and flower heads of big sagebrush. Antelope and mule deer also eat big sagebrush leaves and stems during the fall, winter, and spring. A variety of birds can also be found hiding in the brush provided by sagebrush, including sage grouse, sharp tailed grouse, prairie sparrows, chukar, quail, and gray partridge.

Leaves
Leaves wedge-shaped, generally 0.39 to 1.19 in (1 to 3 cm) long, although they can reach 2.36 in (6 cm) in length. Leaves are usually 3- or 5-toothed at the tip, although sometimes the leaf tips are rounded.The surfaces of the leaves are silvery to gray-green and covered with dense hairs. If you crush and smell the leaves, you will find that they are highly aromatic
Flowers
Flowers are small and borne in dense heads that are 0.08 to 0.1 in (2.0 to 2.5 mm) in diameter, located at the tips of the erect stems. They are usually rather inconspicuous (hard to see), so take a close look!
Fruits
Small brownish colored achenes with sparse hairs in small clusters on the upper stems.
Habitat
Common in habitats with dry soils, and on desert slopes, including valleys and slopes 984 to 9842 ft (300 to 3000 m) in elevation and higher.
Bloom Time
Buds typically form in June; flowering and seed ripening occur in the fall.
States
AZ, CA, CO, ID, MA, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY