Genus Artemisia
Aster Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)


Big Sagebrush
(Artemisia tridentata)

This plant is named for an ancient goddess, Artemis. The specific name, tridentata, is because of the three teeth commonly found on the end of each leaf. Many of the leaves on the photo to the left show this characteristic.

The leaf surfaces are covered with short silvery white hairs. This is an adaptation to minimize evaporation and conserve water. These hairs give the plant its typical grayish green color.

It blooms in late summer and early fall, but the flowers are not showy. They are cream colored, and very tiny. However they grow in dense clusters, and can produce a large amount of pollen.

This is the state flower of Nevada. It is one of the dominant plants all through the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau areas. It usually grows about 3 feet tall, but when conditions are right (such as along the sides of an irrigated field, where it gets extra water) it can be much taller -- up to 7 or 8 feet.


Government Creek Cove
Boulder Mountain foothills
Wayne County, Utah


by Sandra Bray