Life Span: Perennial
erect, highly branched shrub with a rounded crown, growing 1 to
16 feet tall. Trunk is short. Flowers August to September and reproduces
inconspicuous flowers, in dense clusters, forming in the fall.
A resinous, brownish, flattened, pubescent seed.
simple, somewhat spatula-shaped, and gray-green in color. Tip of
the leaf is 3-lobed most of the time, but can be entire. The leaf
tapers at the base. The surface is covered with a silver-appearing
hair. Two crops of leaves are produced each year, one in the spring
and one in the fall. As the fall leaves come on, the spring leaves
are dropped and vice-versa.
are round and rigid. Current years growth is pubescent, giving it
a silvery-white appearance. The newer stems are green, and older
stems are brown. Bark is gray-brown, shredding into long, flat strips.
in valleys, basins, and mountain slopes, at elevations between 2,500
and 10,000 feet.
abundant in dry, well-drained, gravelly or rocky soils.
wheatgrass, rubber rabbitbrush,
wheatgrass, and blue grama.
Sagebrush is good forage for sheep and wildlife on winter ranges.
It is poor forage for cattle. It is high in protein, but also high
in volatile oils, which may cause rumen stasis. It is a food source
and provides cover for many types of wildlife. It is essential to
sage grouse, which prefer the short forms, for feed and cover.
Some American Indians used decoctions made with big sagebrush as
a laxative. It is used locally as a tea substitute, general tonic,
for hair and eye wash, in treating colds and diarrhea, and as an
antiseptic for wounds.