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Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

Natural History

Big Sagebrush is a member of the Sunflower Family. It can grow to 7 feet in height and appears as a large bush with many side branches that ascend upwards. The evergreen leaves are one quarter inch to two inches long, wedge-shaped and have three or five lobes at the tip. The plant typically grows in dry plains, mesas and rocky areas  at elevations between 5000 - 8000 feet.

Big Sagebrush is the state plant of Nevada.

Big Sagebrush blooms in late summer producing dense clusters of tiny yellow or cream-colored flowers. One mature plant may produce up to one million tiny, black seeds. Big Sagebrush is an important winter browse plant for a number of wildlife species, including pronghorn, mule deer, domestic livestock, sage grouse and many small mammals. More than seventy percent of the sage grouse's diet consists of sagebrush leaves and buds. Both Navajos and Hopis made medicine from the plant to cure stomach-ache. The Navajos also used it to cure colds and headaches.


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