Artemisia pygmaea

A. Gray

Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 21: 413. 1886

Common names: Pygmy sage
Synonyms: Seriphidium pygmaeum (A. Gray) W. A. Weber
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 19. Treatment on page 514. Mentioned on page 504, 510.
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Illustrator: Linda Ann Vorobik
Shrubs, 5–10 cm, slightly aromatic; not root-sprouting (caudices coarsely woody, branched). Stems pale to light brown (stiffly erect, densely clothed with appressed foliage), sparsely tomentose. Leaves persistent (sessile, rigid), bright green; blades oblong to ovate, 0.3–0.5 × 0.2–0.3 cm, pinnately lobed (nearly to midribs, 1/3+ widths of blades, lobes 3–7, divergent), faces glabrous or sparsely tomentose, resinous. Heads (sessile, erect) in paniculiform to racemiform arrays (1–)2–3 × 0.5–1 cm. Involucres narrowly turbinate, 2–3 × 3–4 mm. Phyllaries (green) narrowly lanceolate (midribs prominent), glabrous or sparsely tomentose. Florets 2–6; corollas 2.5–3 mm, glandular (style branches flat, erose, exsert). Cypselae (prismatic) 0.4–0.5 mm, glabrous, resinous. 2n = 18.

Phenology: Flowering mid summer–fall.
Habitat: Fine-textured soils of gypsum or shale
Elevation: 1500–1800 m

Distribution

V19-872-distribution-map.gif

Ariz., Colo., Nev., N.Mex., Utah.

Discussion

Artemisia pygmaea is a distinctive, faintly aromatic shrublet, often mistaken for something other than a sagebrush. In early spring its stiff, bright green, deeply pinnatifid leaves are reminiscent of some prickly member of Polemoniaceae. After flowering, its heads and narrow panicles easily identify it as a member of Artemisia; it is unlike other members of the subgenus (which typically have 3-lobed leaves in fascicled lateral shoots). The molecular analysis by L. E. Watson et al. (2002) supported its phylogenetic alignment within subg. Tridentatae.

References

None.

Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.