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Artemisia pycnocephala

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About Coastal Sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala) Artemisia pycnocephala is a species of sagebrush in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family known by the common names Beach Sagewort, Beach Wormwood and Coastal Sagewort. This plant is native to the western United States coastline extending from Oregon to Central California. It is a leafy perennial wormwood forming clumps about half a meter in height. It extends erect stems covered in dense foliage which ranges in color from light green to nearly white. The fuzzy flower clusters are studded with small lobular leaves and rounded yellowish flower buds. The plant is aromatic but much less so than are other wormwoods. It is restricted to the immediate coast, often in dunes, where it is protected from temperature extremes. There is a popular cultivar known as 'David's Choice'.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.6 ft (0.49 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant


Flower Color
Cream, White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky or sandy soils, coastal strand, from Monterey County northward, no more than a few miles inland


Elevation ?
-75' - 870'

Annual Precip. ?
10.7" - 71.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.19" - 2.06"

Coldest Month ?
44.6° F - 52.8° F

Hottest Month ?
55.6° F - 72.6° F

Humidity ?
0.07 vpd - 17.44 vpd

Soil Description
Generally prefers sand

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
4, 5*, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with other species of coastal strand such as Verbena (Abronia sp.), Beach Morning Glory (Calystegia soldanella), Beach Evening-primRose (Camissioniopsis cheiranthifolia), Cobweb Thistle (Cirsium occidentale), Seaside Daisy (Erigeron glaucus), Coast Buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium), Seaside Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum staechadifolium), Gumweed (Grindelia stricta), Lupine (Lupinus sp., and Silverweed (Potentilla anserina)

Wildlife Attracted
Various insects are attracted to the flowers. Nesting bees utilize the plant material.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
1x/month, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Beach Wormwood, Beach Sagewort

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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