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Artemisia nova
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Black Sagebrush
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Artemisia nova

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About Black Sagebrush (Artemisia nova) Artemisia nova is a species of sagebrush known by the common name black sagebrush. It is native to the western United States from California to Montana to New Mexico, where it grows in forest, woodland, and grassland habitats. It is "one of the most common shrubs in the western United States". Identification is sometimes difficult, because this species is similar in appearance to little sagebrush, Artemisia arbuscula, and it easily hybridizes with big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata, when the it grows in the same area, leading to intermediate forms. Also, A. nova has two main morphological forms, a darker, easily recognized form, and a less common light gray-green colored variant which closely resembles other sagebrush species. In general, this is a small, erect shrub producing upright stems branched off a central trunklike base. It is usually no taller than 20 to 30 centimeters but it has been known to exceed 70 centimeters in height. The aromatic leaves are green, short, narrow, and sometimes toothed at the tip. This species can sometimes be distinguished from its similar-looking relatives by black-tipped hairy hairs on its leaves. The flower cluster bears clusters of flower heads lined with shiny, oily, yellow-green phyllaries with transparent tips. The fruit is a tiny achene up to a millimeter long. The plant reproduces from seed except in very rare occasions when it reproduces vegetatively by layering.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
0.7 - 2 ft (0.21 - 0.6 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color
Yellow, Cream, White, Green

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Shallow rocky soils in desert valleys, dry slopes


Elevation ?
2627' - 11441'

Annual Precip. ?
6.3" - 37.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.52" - 4.47"

Coldest Month ?
20.1° F - 49.4° F

Hottest Month ?
42.2° F - 72.2° F

Humidity ?
0.81 vpd - 25.64 vpd

Soil Description
Adaptable, tolerant of sand, loam and clay

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2*, 3*, 7, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Groundcovers, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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