12. Artemisia nova A. Nelson, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 27: 274. 1900.
Black sagebrush, black sage
Artemisia arbuscula Nuttall subsp. nova (A. Nelson) G. H. Ward; A. arbuscula var. nova (A. Nelson) Cronquist; A. tridentata Nuttall subsp. nova (A. Nelson) H. M. Hall & Clements; Seriphidium novum (A. Nelson) W. A. Weber
Shrubs, 10–30(–50) cm (trunks relatively short, widely and loosely branched), pungently aromatic; not root-sprouting. Stems brown, glabrescent (vegetative of approximately equal heights, giving plants a ‘hedged’ appearance; bark dark gray, exfoliating with age). Leaves persistent, usually bright green to dark green, sometimes gray-green; blades cuneate, 3-lobed (lobes to 1/3 blade lengths, 0.5–2 × 0.2–1 cm, rounded), faces sparsely hairy, gland-dotted. Heads in paniculiform arrays 4–10 × 0.5–3 cm (branches ± erect; peduncles slender). Involucres narrowly turbinate, 2–3 × 2 mm. Phyllaries (straw-colored or light green) ovate to elliptic (margins hyaline, shiny-resinous), sparsely hairy or glabrous. Florets 2–6; corollas 2–3 mm, glabrous (style branches scarcely exsert). Cypselae (ribbed) 0.8–1.5 mm, glabrous or resinous. 2n = 18, 36.
Flowering mid summer–late fall. Shallow soils, desert valleys, exposed mountain slopes; 1500–2300 m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., N.Mex., Utah, Wyo.
Artemisia nova is the common low-growing dark-green ("black") sagebrush of desert valleys or south. southwest-facing slopes. It is prized by sheep ranchers as forage in areas where little else is available for grazing. It is conspicuous by its low growth habit, dark green foliage, and, in late season, by its pale orange to light brown flowering branches that rise beyond the vegetative growth. Often confused in herbarium collections with A. arbuscula, A. nova is easily distinguished by the entire leaves of the flowering stems, pedunculate heads, narrowly turbinate involucres, and often straw-colored, glabrous or sparsely hairy phyllaries.