Artemisia frigida (Prairie Sagewort)
|Also known as:||Sage Wormwood, Fringed Sagewort|
|Habitat:||sun; dry prairie|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are abundant in erect to somewhat spreading, branching clusters (panicles) or in loose racemes along the upper branches. The heads are small and indistinct, short-stalked, 1/8 inch across, semi-spherical, with yellow faces hanging downward. The leafy bracts are silvery green from fine silky hairs.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are ½ to 1½ inches long, deeply divided into two or three sets of 3 or 5 short, linear lobes, the lower leaves short stalked, upper leaves stalkless. Leaves and stems are silvery green to blue-green from dense, silky white hairs (canescent) mostly throughout but upper leaves can become smooth and hairless. Stems are multiple from the base and usually much branched in the upper plant. The lower stem becomes stiff and woody with age, the upper branches are slender and narrowly erect.
Prairie Sagewort spreads from underground rhizomes and can form large mats, similar to White Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana). Both are covered in dense, silky white hairs and can look similar from a distance. The two are easily differentiated by white sage's broader, flat blades compared to prairie sage's short, wipsy, fringe-like leaves, and while White Sage can form colonies from its own rhizomes, it is not clump forming as Prairie Sagewort is. Leaves of both species give off a pungent odor when crushed.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Rice Creek Regional Trail, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey, Anoka and Pope counties.
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