The photo above shows the 3-forked (trifurcate) leaves and an axillary flower cluster of stiff sagebrush as seen on basalt outcrops about one mile east of Celilo, OR..........October, 2004.
Stiff sagebrush is a shrubby species with pungent sagebrush taste and odor. It is low in height, growing up to 50 cm with the many stems rigid and many-branched. The newer twigs range from glabrous and yellowish to brownish in color to covered with fine white-woolly hairs. Older twigs are covered with a dark, stringy-fibrous bark. The plants are deciduous, commonly lose their leaves by late fall. The leaves range from 1-4 cm long with 3-5 long, thin narrow segments (See photo at right.). Leaves of the upper stems may often be entire, lacking the thin segments.
The inflorescence is a narrow spike with the flower heads or clusters of flower heads sessile in the leaf axils. The subtending leaves are much longer than the flower heads. The involucre ranges from 4-5 mm high and is covered with dense, white hairs. Stiff sagebrush flowers from September to October.
Stiff sagebrush may be found on dry, rocky sites in the plains and foothills.
Stiff sagebrush may be found from central Washington and central Oregon east to western Montana.
In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found on slopes above the river between the elevations 300'-1000' to the east of The Dalles, OR.