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Plants: Species

Sagebrush Artemesia

FAMILY: ASTERACEAE (Sunflower Family)

Sage can be confusing, even to native Californians. You hear the name applied to several types of plants, but they don't seem to look alike. Well, here's the key: If you're looking for the herb, you want Salvia; if you're looking at those feathery clumps of gray-green foliage dotting the landscape, you've found Artemesia .

Although often referred to as sage, the Artemesia species are more accurately called sagebrush, like the big sagebrush Artemesia tridentata found throughout the western United States. In California, these species are a vital part of the particular habitat type known as sage scrub, as they provide shelter and food for wildlife like grouse, pheasants, quail, jackrabbits, and deer. The sage grouse is particularly dependent on Artemesia , as up to 75 percent of its diet is made up of the flower clusters and protein-rich leaves