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   The species Artemisia shown on this page have the typical, distinctive, pungent sage sweetness characteristic of many members of this genus. They also have the distinctive silvery-soft green sage color. 

    Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  Artemis was Apollo's twin sister and daughter of Zeus and Leto; she was the equivalent of the Greek Diana, goddess of the moon, the woods, and the wild, who, the legend states, derived so much good from plants of this kind that all such plants are named for her. 

    Intermountain Flora presents another etymology: the genus is named for Artemisia, historical Queen of Caria (in present day Turkey) who was a "noted botanist, medical researcher, and scholar".  She was named for the Greek god.  

   See also Artemisia scopulorum, Artemisia franserioides, Artemisia shrubs,  and more Artemisia shrubs.

Artemisia frigida

Artemisia frigida

Artemisia frigida (Sagewort)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, gravels. Summer, fall.
Prairie Dog Knoll Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, June 25, 2004 and Unnamed Knoll above Robertson Pasture Trail, Abajo Mountains, Utah, August 16, 2011.

Flower stems emerge from a tight tuft of sweetly scented, very conspicuous, handsome, silvery gray-green basal leaves. The tiny stem leaves are clumped together.  Artemisia frigida is abundant on dry, gravelly hills and is widely distributed throughout the mountain states and east to Wisconsin.

"Frigida" is Latin for "cold"; the species was first collected in Siberia in 1803.

Artemisia frigida

Artemisia frigida (Sagewort)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, gravels. Summer, fall.
Abajo Mountains, Utah, September 7, 2005, and September 6, 2013.

Each flowering stem has several dozen flowerheads and each head is only a quarter inch in diameter and is made up of numerous tiny disk flowers.

Artemisia frigida.

Artemisia ludoviciana

Artemisia ludoviciana (Sagewort, Wormwood)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, alpine. Meadows, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Horse Creek, August 24, 2004.

From the lowlands to higher mountains, Sagewort is quite common  --  but frequently unnoticed. It is found in all lower 48 states except Florida.  It grows from one to three feet tall, often in masses.  Silvery-sage-green leaves are from one to several inches long, narrow, sometimes entire, sometimes lobed or with a few small toothed notches.  Massed, tiny, downy, silvery-white flower buds are present for many weeks before they open into minute yellow flowers which in turn give way to brown seeds. (All three can be seen in the picture to the left.) 

Intermountain Flora indicates that this is a "highly complex species" with a number of subspecies. 

Sagewort is widely spread in the U.S. and the type specimen was, in fact, collected by Thomas Nuttall in 1810 or 1811 on the banks of the Mississippi near St. Louis prior to his departing for a collecting trip with the Astor Company up the Missouri River.  "Ludoviciana" means "from Louisiana", i.e., named for the Louisiana Territory, which encompassed St. Louis and most of Missouri as well as most of the land from the Mississippi west to the Rockies. It is common to have a species named for the place it was collected: "Virginiana", "Canadensis", "Arizonica".  Nuttall published his description of Artemisia ludoviciana in his 1818 two volume work, Genera of North American Plants.

Artemisia ludoviciana

Artemisia ludoviciana (Sagewort, Wormwood)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, alpine. Meadows, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Horse Creek, August 24, 2004.

The sage green of Artemisia ludoviciana sets it apart. 

Artemisia ludoviciana

Artemisia ludoviciana (Sagewort, Wormwood)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, alpine. Meadows, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Horse Creek, August 24, 2004.

Artemisia ludoviciana (Sagewort, Wormwood)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, alpine. Meadows, woodlands. Summer, fall.
Behind the Rocks, Utah, April 3, 2006.

In early spring, new green Artemisia ludoviciana growth on the forest floor of Gambel's Oak leaves is topped by a bent, two foot tall, dried Artemisia flower stalk.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Artemisia frigida

Range map for Artemisia ludoviciana