[Shrub-like Members of the Sunflower Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush

Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata

Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata

Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata)

Big sagebrush as seen along the west bank of the Deschutes River at its mouth........October 7, 2006.

Characteristics:

Big sagebrush is an aromatic, woody shrub, freely branched above, from 4-30 dm tall. Young stems are silvery-gray, while the older stems become grayish brown. The oldest stems have bark which is noticeably shredded.

The leaves are gray, crowded and narrowly cuneate with 3 rounded teeth or lobes on the blunt tip. They are silvery green above and below and strongly scented. The leaves alternate on the stems, and they may be both deciduous and winter persistent.

The flower heads are loosely spread out along the tips of the branches. The flower heads are soley discoid with 3-8 flowers per head. Big sagebrush flowers from late summer into fall.


Habitat:

Dry hills and plains, but may extend up to timberline in open habitats. Big sagebrush is often found on rocky and gravelly basaltic soils, and has a special affinity to granitic substrates.


Range:

East of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, covering the dry plains of western North America.

In the Columbia River Gorge, Artemisia tridentata may be found between the elevations of 100-700' and from approximately adjacent to Wasco Butte and points east.


Uses/ Importance:

Sagebrush was used by Native Americans for shelter, cordage, and basketry. The fruits were used fresh, dried, or pounded into a meal. As browse, it is lightly used by deer.


Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata) - Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata) - Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata)

Big sagebrush as seen on slopes above the east bank of the Deschutes River near Ferry Springs, about 2 miles upstream from its mouth.........October 6, 2016.

Leaves of Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata) - Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata)

These photos show the leaves and inflorescence of big sagebrush as seen from Ana Reservoir, near Summer Lake, OR....September 28, 1996. Note the 3 shallow lobes at the tip of the leaf blades.

Big Sagebrush, Tall Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata (Synonym: Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata)

Big sagebrush as seen along the western bank of the Deschutes River about one-third of a mile upstream from the Columbia River.........October 12, 2011.

Paul Slichter