Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [18]:

5 Columbia Plateau

6 Upper Basin and Range

7 Lower Basin and Range

8 Northern Rocky Mountains

9 Middle Rocky Mountains

10 Wyoming Basin

11 Southern Rocky Mountains

12 Colorado Plateau

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
  • 18. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Occurrence in North America

CACOIDMTNVNMORUTWAWY

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Low sagebrush grows from California and Nevada north to Oregon and Washington, west through southern and central Idaho and southwestern Montana, and south through Wyoming to Colorado to northern New Mexico [58]. Gray low sagebrush has the same range as the species as a whole [49,58]; Lahontan sagebrush is found only in California, Nevada, and Oregon. Alkali sagebrush grows in Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana; and hotsprings sagebrush is present in California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah [58]. A map of the distribution of low sagebrush can be found at the Plants Database.
  • 49. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 58. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Available: North Carolina Botanical Garden. In cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [2001, January 16]. [36715]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Gray low sagebrush and alkali sagebrush have been described as dwarf sagebrushes, generally growing only 4 to 16 inches (10-40 cm) high [47,49]. The species is "evergreen," much-branching, and grows in mounded form [47]. Lahontan sagebrush is slightly taller, growing 1 to 3 feet (30-90 cm) high with flowering stalks more erect than those of gray low sagebrush [116]. Hotsprings sagebrush is shorter than the other subspecies: it grows 6 to 9 inches (15-23 cm) high in Wyoming [16]. The foliage of all subspecies is aromatic and light grayish-green, darkening later in the season [13].

Leaves are up to 1.5 cm long; in hotsprings sagebrush leaves are deeply cleft in three while gray low sagebrush's leaves are variably cleft [47,49]. The inflorescence is a spike-like, narrow panicle 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) wide [49]. Gray low sagebrush has 4 to 9 flowers per head [49,113]. Alkali sagebrush has 6 to 11 flowers per head [20]. Numerous ecotypes, phases, races, and forms of low sagebrush have been described [48,73,93,112]. Both small-headed and later blooming large-headed forms have been noted [36,112], as have green and gray forms which differ in palatability [73,93]. Not much is known of the longevity of low sagebrush but members of the genus are generally long-lived, sometimes up to 150 years [78]. The Flora of North America provides a morphological description and identification key for low sagebrush [42]. 

Roots: Sagebrush may be either arbuscular mycorrhizal or ectomycorrhizal [82]. Low sagebrush has an extensive fibrous root system down to about 8 inches (20 cm); roots are generally tolerant of poor aeration and more efficient at removing water from this soil depth than big or black sagebrush's root systems [80,114].  

  • 112. Ward, George H. 1953. Artemisia, section Seriphidium, in North America: a cytotaxonomic study. Contributions from the Dudley Herberium. 4(6): 155-205. [2454]
  • 113. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 114. West, Marda Lee. 1969. Physiological ecology of three species of Artemisia in the White Mountains of California. Los Angeles: University of California. 100 p. Dissertation. [7434]
  • 116. Winward, A. H.; McArthur, E. D.; Kaffer, D. A.; Plummer, C. A.; Brackley, G. K. 1986. Another sagebrush in Nevada. Technical Notes TN-RANGE NV-44. [Reno, NV]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nevada Soil Conservation Service. 2 p. [5226]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 16. Beetle, Alan A. 1977. Recognition of Artemisia subspecies--a necessity. In: Johnson, Kendall L., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Proceedings, 6th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1977 May 24-25; Buffalo, WY. Laramie, WY: Shrub Ecology Workshop: 35-42. [419]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 36. Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1957. Vegetation-soil relationships in some Artemisia types in northern Harney and Lake Counties. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State College. 208 p. Dissertation. [837]
  • 42. Flora of North America Association. 2000. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Volume 2: Pteridophytes and gymnosperms, [Online]. Available: http://hua.huh.harvard.edu/FNA/ [2002, March 27]. [36990]
  • 47. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 49. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 73. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. [7342]
  • 78. Mooney, Melissa Jane. 1985. A preliminary classification of high-elevation sagebrush-grass vegetation in northern and central Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 123 p. Thesis. [1689]
  • 80. Mozingo, Hugh N. 1987. Shrubs of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 342 p. [1702]
  • 82. Nelson, David L.; Krebill, Richard G. 1981. A sagebrush wilt disease of unknown cause. The Great Basin Naturalist. 41(2): 184-191. [1739]
  • 93. Schlatterer, E. F. 1973. Sagebrush species and subspecies. Range Improvement Notes. 18(2): 1-11. [2077]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

Shrubs, 10–30(–50) cm, aromatic; root-sprouting. Stems gray-green to brown, glabrate (diffusely branched from bases, brittle). Leaves (vegetative stems) persistent, gray-green; blades broadly to narrowly cuneate, 3–10 × 2–5 mm, lobed (lobes 3, oblong-linear, to 1/3 blade lengths, mostly 1–3 mm wide, flat, obtuse, laterals sometimes 2–3-fid; leaves on flowering stems deciduous, blades narrowly cuneate, deeply 3-lobed), faces densely hairy (not sticky resinous). Heads usually borne singly, rarely (1–4, erect, mostly sessile, in pedunculate clusters) in spiciform or paniculiform arrays 2–9 × 0.5–2 cm (branches slender). Involucres campanulate or globose-ovoid, (1.5–)2–4(–5) × 1.5–4.5 mm. Phyllaries (margins green) ovate (outer) to oblong, pubescent or tomentose. Florets 4–6(–10); corollas 1.5–2 mm, glabrous. Cypselae (light brown) 0.7–0.8 mm, resinous.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Artemisia tridentata Nuttall subsp. arbuscula (Nuttall) H. M. Hall & Clements; A. tridentata var. arbuscula (Nuttall) McMinn; Seriphidium arbusculum (Nuttall) W. A. Weber
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: codominant, cover, forb, forbs, heath, presence, shrubs

Low sagebrush species cover approximately 28 million acres (11.2 million ha) in the western
United States [13]. Recognized habitat types include gray low sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
(Pseudoroegneria spicata), gray low sagebrush/Idaho
fescue (Festuca idahoensis), gray
low sagebrush/Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum), gray low
sagebrush/bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata)/bluebunch wheatgrass, hotsprings sagebrush/Idaho fescue,
alkali
sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass, and alkali sagebrush/Idaho fescue [20]. Lahontan sagebrush
grows with many of the same associates; Lahontan sagebrush is an ecosystem
dominant on about 500,000
acres (200,000 ha) [116].



Washington: In eastern Washington low sagebrush grows with stiff sagebrush (A.
rigida) and mountain big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. vaseyana) with
an understory of elk sedge (Carex geyeri),
Idaho fescue, Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda), and bluebunch wheatgrass
[30]. Low sagebrush is not particularly common and, for the most part,
is restricted to Chelan, Kittias, and Yakima
counties [13]. 

Oregon: On the Deschutes, Winema, and Fremont National Forests, low sagebrush (with 5-15% canopy cover) grows with Idaho fescue (2-16%
cover) and bluebunch wheatgrass, Sandberg bluegrass, bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus
elymoides), and low
pussytoes (Antennaria dimorpha). Such habitats in
"poor condition" are characterized by increasing rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.) and cheatgrass
(Bromus tectorum); on mesic
sites antelope bitterbrush, California oatgrass
(Danthonia californica), and prairie Junegrass (Koeleria
macrantha) are present [33,51,110]. Forbs present in the communities include rosy pussytoes (Antennaria
microphylla), fleabane (Erigeron spp.), rockcress (Arabis spp.), and
milkvetch (Astragalus
spp.). On sites slightly drier than those occupied by ponderosa pine (Pinus
ponderosa) forests, low sagebrush and antelope bitterbrush are dominant with
green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) and rubber
rabbitbrush (C. nauseosus) as minor shrubs where soils
are deeper. The most prominent grass is Thurber's needlegrass. Low sagebrush is an occasional component of silver sagebrush (A. cana)/mat
muhly (Muhlenbergia richardsonis) communities [33]. Other
associates of low sagebrush in eastern Oregon are stiff sagebrush, snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.),
wax currant (Ribes cereum), and Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier
alnifolia) [45]. 

California: On the Modoc Plateau of northeastern California, common
understory associates in low sagebrush stands
are Idaho fescue, bitterbrush (Purshia spp.), bluebunch wheatgrass,
Thurber's needlegrass, prairie Junegrass, phlox (Phlox spp.), pussytoes (Antennaria
spp.), fleabane, blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia spp.), Ross' sedge
(Carex rossii),
and rushes (Juncus spp.). Shrubs frequently associated are western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis), green
rabbitbrush, gray horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens), and longflower snowberry (S.
longiflorus). Cheatgrass, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and
medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) are prominent weedy species after grazing; historically
bottlebrush squirreltail and/or Sandberg bluegrass had greater canopy cover [9].
Low sagebrush is more common in
western juniper stands than in pinyon (Pinus spp.)/juniper (Juniperus spp.)
stands; big sagebrush is much more frequently found in pinyon-juniper stands [22]. In the White Mountains of eastern California in Rocky Mountain
bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), limber pine (P. flexilis), and
quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands with
discontinuous sparse cover, low sagebrush grows with big sagebrush, green
rabbitbrush, curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius),
littleleaf mountain-mahogany (C. intricatus), fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium),
oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), and desert gooseberry (Ribes velutinum).
Grasses present include are prairie Junegrass, bottlebrush squirreltail, mat
muhly, and timblerline bluegrass (Poa glauca var. rupicola) [68]. 

Utah: Low
sagebrush grows in Utah in Box Elder, Cache, Millard, Rich,
Salt Lake, Summit, and Toole counties in Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis)/juniper, mountain brush,
sagebrush, and, to a lesser extent, in openings in white fir (Abies concolor),
quaking aspen, and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii)-white fir communities. Alkali sagebrush is found in sagebrush
grassland communities in Rich and Summit
counties [113]. In the interior ponderosa pine (P. p. var. scopulorum)/black
sagebrush habitat type, trees present are limber pine (in
Utah only), Colorado pinyon, and Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum).
Dominant shrubs include low sagebrush, green rabbitbrush, Gambel oak (Quercus
gambelii), gray horsebrush, and blue grama (Bouteloua
gracilis) [1]. In Uintah County of northeastern Utah, low sagebrush grows in
Colorado pinyon/Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)
communities with big sagebrush, fourwing saltbrush (Atriplex canescens),
shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus
montanus), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides),
and ephedra (Ephedra spp.). Important grasses are purple threeawn (Aristida
purpurea), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), Indian
ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), Sandberg bluegrass,
needle-and-thread grass (Hesperostipa comata), bottlebrush
squirreltail; forbs include Fendler's sandwort (Arenaria fendleri),
rose heath (Chaetopappa ericoides), thickstem wild cabbage (Caulanthus
crassicaulis), cryptantha (Cryptantha spp.), Fendler's
springparsley (Cymopterus acaulis var. fendleri),
prickly-pear (Opuntia spp.), and others [6].  

Montana: Low sagebrush is found only in southwestern Montana. Gray low sagebrush is in Beaverhead, Madison, and Deer Lodge counties
[13,79]. Common associates include slender wheatgrass (Elymus
trachycaulus) and
Idaho fescue [79]. Alkali sagebrush is present in only a few isolated
stands in Beaverhead and Madison counties [17,79]. Alkali sagebrush occurs with Idaho fescue, western wheatgrasss
(Pascopyrum smithii), thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus),
bluebunch
wheatgrass, and alkali cordgrass (Spartina gracilis) [79].

Idaho: The gray low sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass habitat type supports bluebunch
wheatgrass, Sandberg bluegrass, bottlebrush squirreltail, Hood's phlox (Phlox
hoodii), tapertip hawksbeard (Crepis acuminata)
and prairie Junegrass [48,94]. The gray low sagebrush/Idaho fescue type is
widespread in western Idaho in the same elevation zone; forb associates are
phlox, rosy pussytoes, tapertip hawksbeard, lambstongue ragwort (Senecio integerrimus), and Hooker balsamroot (Balsamorhiza
hookeri); bluebunch wheatgrass is abundant on some sites and absent
on others. The gray low sagebrush/Sandberg bluegrass habitat type
occurs where soils are too shallow to support Idaho fescue or bluebunch
wheatgrass. In this type, Sandberg bluegrass and gray low sagebrush have increased with grazing
pressure and species diversity has been reduced.  In the Dautrich
Memorial Desert Preserve in southeastern Idaho, low sagebrush sometimes grows with
big sagebrush, fourwing saltbrush, shadscale, littleleaf horsebrush (Tetradymia glabrata),
grayball sage (Salvia dorrii), and basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus) [50]. The
alkali sagebrush/Idaho fescue type occurs on and near the Owyhee Plateau; associated grasses are bluebunch wheatgrass
and Thurber's needlegrass (with variable presence and cover) and Sandberg
bluegrass. Forbs are small bluebells (Mertensia longiflora),
narrowleaf pussytoes (Antennaria
stenophylla), alpine ionactis (Ionactis alpina), tapertip
onion (Allium accuminatum), and Holboell's rockcress (Arabis holboellii) [48]. 

Hotsprings sagebrush is only known in Custer County, Idaho [13]. The hotsprings
sagebrush/Idaho fescue habitat type occupies glacial outwashes and ridges with
thin soil; bluebunch wheatgrass is sometimes present. In some areas grazing
pressure has caused Idaho fescue to be replaced by Letterman needlegrass (Achnatherum
lettermanii) [48]. Other associates include Sandberg bluegrass, bottlebrush
squirreltail, fleabane, rosy pussytoes, Hood's phlox, and snowline springparsley (Cymopterus
nivalis) [94]. 

Wyoming: Gray low sagebrush grows in Lincoln and Teton counties, and hotsprings
sagebrush grows in Lincoln and Teton counties and Yellowstone National Park [13]. Alkali sagebrush is in Carbon, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Sublette, Teton
and Uinta counties [17]. Beetle [16] estimated that in Wyoming gray low
sagebrush covers about 2,000 square miles (510,000 ha) and alkali sagebrush covers the same;
hotspring sagebrush covers about 100 square miles (26,000 ha). Gray low sagebrush and alkali
sagebrush are confined primarily to
the western part of the state; hotsprings sagebrush is in the northwestern part. Common understory grasses are western wheatgrass, thickspike
wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, prairie Junegrass, Cusick's bluegrass (Poa cusickii),
mutton grass (Poa fendleriana), and
Sandberg bluegrass [105]. 

Nevada: Alkali sagebrush is present in Elko and Humboldt counties
[13,17,124]. The
alkali sagebrush/Idaho fescue habitat type is common in Elko County; the type is
very similar to the composition of the
gray low sagebrush/Idaho
fescue type described above, but Thurber's needlegrass is generally more prominent
[124]. 

Gray low sagebrush is best represented in northern Nevada; in
southern Nevada this variety is a component of singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla)/Utah
juniper stands [124]. In the gray low sagebrush/Sandberg bluegrass
habitat type species present include fleabane,
phlox, bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), milkvetch, Idaho fescue, and curlleaf mountain-mahogany. In singleleaf
pinyon/Utah juniper communities low sagebrush grows with
big sagebrush, green rabbitbrush, antelope bitterbrush, cheatgrass, bottlebrush
squirreltail, California brome (Bromus carinatus), Sandberg
bluegrass, bushy bird's beak (Cordylanthus ramosus), tapertip
onion, longleaf phlox (Phlox longifolia), sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii),
largeflower hawksbeard (Crepis occidentalis), and pinyon
groundsmoke (Gayophytum ramosissimum)
[19].
In the Ruby Mountains gray low sagebrush communities typical species
are
Idaho fescue, bottlebrush squirreltail, green rabbitbrush, Sandberg
bluegrass, fleabane, granite prickly phlox (Leptodactylon
pungens), spike fescue (Leucopoa kingii), lupines (Lupinus
spp.), Wyoming Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia),
colddesert phlox (Phlox stansburyii), and
pussytoes [67].
The gray low sagebrush/Thurber's needlegrass habitat type is common in northwestern
Nevada; subdominant grasses are Sandberg bluegrass,
bottlebrush squirreltail, and Idaho fescue. Forbs present are fleabane,
Hood's phlox, alpine ionactus, and woollypod milkvetch (Astragalus purshii) [124].

New Mexico: Gray low sagebrush grows on dry plains, mountain
slopes, and ridges in northwestern and west-central New Mexico [69]. With Utah juniper frequently codominant, low sagebrush grows with big sagebrush,
fourwing saltbush, Stansbury cliffrose (Purshia mexicana var. stansburiana),
broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), prickly-pear, and pingue
hymenoxys (Hymenoxys
richardsonii). Common grasses are blue grama, hairy grama (Bouteloua
hirsuta), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), galleta (Pleuraphis
jamesii), threeawn (Aristida spp.), western wheatgrass,
bottlebrush squirreltail, and Indian ricegrass [63]. 

Colorado: In the White River-Arapaho National Forest the low sagebrush/arrowleaf
balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) habitat type occurs on warm aspects; associated shrubs are Utah
serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis), longflower rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus
depressus), and mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus). Prominent grasses include prairie
Junegrass, mutton grass, Sandberg bluegrass, and bottlebrush squirreltail, and
forbs of importance are pale agoseris (Agoseris glauca), Geyer's
onion (Allium geyeri), Gunnison's mariposa lily (Calochortus gunnisonii),
largeflower hawksbeard, Gray's biscuitroot (Lomatium grayi), and
lambstongue ragwort [46]. 

Alkali sagebrush grows in Garfield, Jackson, Routt, Moffat, and Rio
Blanco counties [13]. The alkali sagebrush/Sandberg bluegrass habitat type
occurs in central Colorado.
Grasses present (in
descending importance) are bottlebrush squirreltail, mutton grass (Poa fendleriana),
bluebunch wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, pine needlegrass (Achnatherum pinetorum),
needle-and-thread grass, prairie Junegrass, cheatgrass, and
basin wildrye [103]. Other important shrubs are green rabbitbrush,
mountain snowberry, fringed sagebrush
(Artemisia frigida), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata),
broom snakeweed, and Vasey's rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus vaseyi). Forbs present are phlox,
mat penstemon (Penstemon caespitosus), and fleabane [102]. 

Classifications describing plant communities in which low sagebrush is a
dominant species are as follows:

California: [9]

Colorado: [46,103]

Idaho: [48]

Montana: [81]

Nevada: [19,53,124]

New Mexico: [63]

Oregon: [110]

Wyoming: [105]

  • 1. Alexander, Robert R. 1988. Forest vegetation on National Forests in the Rocky Mountain and Intermountain Regions: habitat and community types. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-162. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 47 p. [5903]
  • 102. Terwilliger, Charles, Jr.; Tiedeman, James A. 1978. Habitat types of the mule deer critical winter range and adjacent steppe region of Middle Park, Colorado. Final Report Cooperative Agreement No. 16-739-CA. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p. [5611]
  • 103. Tiedeman, James A.; Francis, Richard E.; Terwilliger, Charles, Jr.; Carpenter, Len H. 1987. Shrub-steppe habitat types of Middle Park, Colorado. Res. Pap. RM-273. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 20 p. [2329]
  • 105. Tweit, Susan J.; Houston, Kent E. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of the Shoshone National Forest. Cody, WY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 2, Shoshone National Forest. 143 p. [2377]
  • 110. Volland, Leonard A. 1985. Plant associations of the central Oregon pumice zone. R6-ECOL-104-1985. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 138 p. [7341]
  • 113. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 116. Winward, A. H.; McArthur, E. D.; Kaffer, D. A.; Plummer, C. A.; Brackley, G. K. 1986. Another sagebrush in Nevada. Technical Notes TN-RANGE NV-44. [Reno, NV]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nevada Soil Conservation Service. 2 p. [5226]
  • 124. Zamora, B.; Tueller, Paul T. 1973. Artemisia arbuscula, A. longiloba, and A. nova habitat types in northern Nevada. The Great Basin Naturalist. 33(4): 225-242. [2688]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 16. Beetle, Alan A. 1977. Recognition of Artemisia subspecies--a necessity. In: Johnson, Kendall L., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Proceedings, 6th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1977 May 24-25; Buffalo, WY. Laramie, WY: Shrub Ecology Workshop: 35-42. [419]
  • 17. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 19. Blackburn, Wilbert H.; Tueller, Paul T.; Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1969. Vegetation and soils of the Churchill Canyon Watershed. R-45. Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Agricultural Experiment Station. 155 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. [460]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 22. Bolsinger, Charles L. 1989. California's western juniper and pinyon-juniper woodlands: area, stand characteristics, wood volume, and fenceposts. Res. Bull. PNW-RB-166. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 37 p. [10365]
  • 30. Clarke, Sharon E.; Bryce, Sandra A., eds. 1997. Hierarchical subdivisions of the Columbia Plateau and Blue Mountains ecoregions, Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-395. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 114 p. [28536]
  • 33. Dealy, J. Edward; Leckenby, Donavin A.; Concannon, Diane M. 1981. Wildlife habitats on managed rangelands--the Great Basin of southeastern Oregon: plant communities and their importance to wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-120. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Range Experiment Station. 66 p. [786]
  • 45. Gedney, Donald R.; Azuma, David L.; Bolsinger, Charles L.; McKay, Neil. 1999. Western juniper in eastern Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-464. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 53 p. [36167]
  • 46. Hess, Karl; Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Grassland, shrubland, and forestland habitat types of the White River-Arapaho National Forest. Final Report. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 335 p. [1142]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 50. Holsinger, Kent E. 1978. Stewardship master plan for the Dautrich Memorial Desert Preserve. Boise, ID: Idaho Fish and Game, Nongame Section, Natural Heritage Program. [Unpublished report prepared for the Idaho Chapter of the Nature Conservancy]. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 35 p. [29860]
  • 51. Hopkins, William E. 1979. Plant associations of south Chiloquin and Klamath Ranger Districts--Winema National Forest. R6-Ecol-79-005. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 96 p. [7339]
  • 53. Jensen, M. E.; Peck, L. S.; Wilson, M. V. 1988. A sagebrush community type classification for mountainous northeastern Nevada rangelands. The Great Basin Naturalist. 48: 422-433. [27717]
  • 6. Austin, Dennis D. 1987. Plant community changes within a mature pinyon-juniper woodland. The Great Basin Naturalist. 47(1): 96-99. [362]
  • 63. Larson, Milo; Moir, W. H. 1987. Forest and woodland habitat types (plant associations) of northern New Mexico and northern Arizona. 2d ed. Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southwestern Region. 90 p. [8947]
  • 67. Lewis, Mont E. 1971. Flora and major plant communities of the Ruby-East Humboldt Mountains with special emphasis on Lamoille Canyon. Elko, NV: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Humboldt National Forest. 62 p. [1450]
  • 68. Marchand, Denis E. 1973. Edaphic control of plant distribution in the White Mountains, eastern California. Ecology. 54(2): 233-250. [1521]
  • 69. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 79. Morris, Melvin S.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Griggs, Dave. 1976. The geographic and ecological distribution of big sagebrush and other woody Artemesias in Montana. Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences. 36: 56-79. [1695]
  • 81. Mueggler, W. F.; Stewart, W. L. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of western Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-66. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 154 p. [1717]
  • 9. Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. 1977. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1002 p. [388]
  • 94. Schlatterer, Edward F. 1972. A preliminary description of plant communities found on the Sawtooth, White Cloud, Boulder and Pioneer Mountains. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. Unpublished paper on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 111 p. [2076]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: association, cover

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [97]:

101 Bluebunch wheatgrass

102 Idaho fescue

104 Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

105 Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue

107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass

109 Ponderosa pine shrubland

110 Ponderosa pine-grassland 

210 Bitterbrush

212 Blackbush

302 Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass

304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass

305 Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass

306 Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass

314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue

316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue

317 Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

318 Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue

319 Bitterbrush-rough fescue

320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue

322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass

324 Threetip sagebrush-Idaho fescue

401 Basin big sagebrush

402 Mountain big sagebrush

403 Wyoming big sagebrush

404 Threetip sagebrush

405 Black sagebrush

406 Low sagebrush

407 Stiff sagebrush

408 Other sagebrush types

412 Juniper-pinyon woodland

413 Gambel oak

414 Salt desert shrub

415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany

416 True mountain-mahogany

501 Saltbush-greasewood

504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland

509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association

612 Sagebrush-grass
  • 97. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. [23362]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: cover

SAF COVER TYPES [41]:

209 Bristlecone pine

217 Aspen

219 Limber pine

220 Rocky Mountain juniper

237 Interior ponderosa pine

238 Western juniper

239 Pinyon-juniper

244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
  • 41. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub

KUCHLER [62] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:

K010 Ponderosa shrub forest

K011 Western ponderosa forest

K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K019 Arizona pine forest

K022 Great Basin pine forest

K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland

K024 Juniper steppe woodland

K031 Oak-juniper woodland

K032 Transition between K031 and K037

K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub

K038 Great Basin sagebrush

K039 Blackbrush

K040 Saltbush-greasewood

K050 Fescue-wheatgrass

K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K053 Grama-galleta steppe

K054 Grama-tobosa prairie

K055 Sagebrush steppe

K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe

K063 Foothills prairie

K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065 Grama-buffalo grass

K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass
  • 62. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. United States [Potential natural vegetation of the conterminous United States]. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 1:3,168,000; colored. [3455]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

ECOSYSTEMS [44]:

FRES20 Douglas-fir

FRES21 Ponderosa pine

FRES29 Sagebrush

FRES30 Desert shrub

FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

FRES36 Mountain grasslands

FRES38 Plains grasslands

FRES42 Annual grasslands
  • 44. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat characteristics

Low sagebrush grows on "dry plains and hills," on sites generally less productive than those dominated by other sagebrushes [49,115]. In many areas, surface soils are highly eroded [122]. Annual precipitation at gray low sagebrush sites ranges from 7 to 18 inches (180-460 mm) [100]. In Nevada the driest sites are occupied by black sagebrush; slightly wetter sites by low sagebrush, and even more moist sites by basin big sagebrush or mountain big sagebrush [54]. Hotsprings sagebrush often occurs on dry, shallow, infertile and rocky ridgetops or benches [48,113], but it also grows well in the cold, dry mountain valleys of central and eastern Idaho, northern Utah, and northeastern Wyoming [113,117]. Hotsprings sagebrush dominates extensive, nearly uniform communities in many areas including parts of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks [17], but also grows in openings in patchy conifer forests [13,117]. The elevational range of gray low sagebrush is from 2,300 to more than 11,500 feet (700-3,500 m) [17]. In the Intermountain region, gray low sagebrush grows most commonly at lower elevations but may be found above 10,000 feet (3,050 m) on warmer and drier sites [93]. Elevation ranges by state are listed below:
 

state elevation range references
California gray low sagebrush: 4,900 to 12,400 feet; hotsprings sagebrush: 7,200 to 8,200 feet [47]
Colorado low sagebrush: 7,000 to 8,000 feet  [81,114,117,124]
Idaho low sagebrush: 6,000 to 9,800 feet  [94,117]
Montana  Gray low sagebrush and alkali sagebrush: 7,000 to 8,000 feet [79]
New Mexico gray low sagebrush: 7,000 to 8,000 feet [69]
Nevada Low sagebrush: 2,300 to 11,500 feet; hotsprings sagebrush: 5,900 to 8,000 feet [20]
Oregon gray low sagebrush: 3,000 to 9,000 feet; hotsprings sagebrush: 5,000 to 9,000 feet; Lahontan sagebrush: 4,300 to 6,400 feet. [116,117]
Utah gray low sagebrush: 4,500 to 8,400 feet; alkali sagebrush: 5,500 to 8,000 feet [113]
Wyoming gray low sagebrush: 5,000 to 7,000 feet; alkali sagebrush: 6,000 to 8,000 feet [16]

Soils: The distribution of low sagebrush is greatly influenced by edaphic factors: generally low sagebrush grows where soil has a clay pan, cobble layer, or bedrock within about 8 to 13 inches (20-33 cm) of the surface [9,43,47,48,96,105,124]. Gray low sagebrush and hotsprings sagebrush typically grow on soils with less than 13 inches (33 cm) to a B horizon of impermeable clay or 30% or more gravel and cobbles [96,124]. Alkali sagebrush occurs on shallow, poorly-drained soils with dense clay B horizons at depths averaging 8 inches (20 cm) [104,105]. 

Gray low sagebrush sites are characterized by large amounts of bare ground and exposed surface rock [120]. Root-zone aeration is poor in many areas because claypans allow development of a perched water table in spring and winter [124]. Low sagebrush sites often flood in spring and dry with a hard veneer crust by mid- to late summer [120]. 

Ecotones between big sagebrush (A. tridentata) and low sagebrush communities are often defined by soil properties [43,105]. On sites with shallow soils underlain by a dense clay layer or bedrock, low productivity low sagebrush communities occur; big sagebrush, with higher productivity, is dominant on deeper soils [9,48,103,124]. In Elko County, Nevada, big sagebrush communities with herbage production between 800 to 970 pounds per acre (900-1,100 kg/ha) grew where the subsurface horizons were penetrable; alkali sagebrush communities with herbage production ranging from 620 to 800 pounds per acre (700-900 kg/ha) occurred where subsurface was less penetrated by roots [83].  

Low sagebrush communities have been described on soils derived from basalt, andesite, sandstone, limestone, granite, and pumice [47,51,110,117]. Gray low sagebrush grows on soils derived from dolomite, sandstone, and granite in California's White Mountains, although growth is relatively poor on the dolomitic soils [114]. Gray low sagebrush occupies dry, infertile, or alkaline sites in the Great Basin; in Wyoming it is confined to glacial alluvium and gravels [17,100,114]. Hotsprings sagebrush is very much favored by impermeable soils derived from alkaline shale but also occurs on more neutral sites [17]. In central Idaho, hotsprings sagebrush grows on glacial outwash, dry alluvium, terraces, or on poorly-drained mountainous sites [117].  

  • 100. Stevens, Richard. 1983. Species adapted for seeding mountain brush, big, black, and low sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper communities. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 78-82. [2240]
  • 103. Tiedeman, James A.; Francis, Richard E.; Terwilliger, Charles, Jr.; Carpenter, Len H. 1987. Shrub-steppe habitat types of Middle Park, Colorado. Res. Pap. RM-273. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 20 p. [2329]
  • 104. Tisdale, E. W.; Hironaka, M. 1981. The sagebrush-grass region: a review of the ecological literature. Bull. 33. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 31 p. [2344]
  • 105. Tweit, Susan J.; Houston, Kent E. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of the Shoshone National Forest. Cody, WY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 2, Shoshone National Forest. 143 p. [2377]
  • 110. Volland, Leonard A. 1985. Plant associations of the central Oregon pumice zone. R6-ECOL-104-1985. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 138 p. [7341]
  • 113. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 114. West, Marda Lee. 1969. Physiological ecology of three species of Artemisia in the White Mountains of California. Los Angeles: University of California. 100 p. Dissertation. [7434]
  • 115. West, Neil E.; Tausch, Robin J.; Rea, Kenneth H.; Tueller, Paul T. 1978. Taxonomic determination, distribution, and ecological indicator values of sagebrush within the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Great Basin. Journal of Range Management. 31(2): 87-92. [2521]
  • 116. Winward, A. H.; McArthur, E. D.; Kaffer, D. A.; Plummer, C. A.; Brackley, G. K. 1986. Another sagebrush in Nevada. Technical Notes TN-RANGE NV-44. [Reno, NV]: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nevada Soil Conservation Service. 2 p. [5226]
  • 117. Winward, Alma H. 1980. Taxonomy and ecology of sagebrush in Oregon. Station Bulletin 642. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 15 p. [2585]
  • 120. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1971. Medusahead invasion as influenced by herbicides and grazing on low sagebrush sites. Journal of Range Management. 24(6): 451-454. [2648]
  • 122. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A.; Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1984. Successional patterns and productivity potentials of the sagebrush and salt desert ecosystems. In: Developing strategies for rangeland management: a report. Westview Special Studies in Agriculture Science and Policy Series. Boulder, CO: Westview Press: 1259-1299. [2669]
  • 124. Zamora, B.; Tueller, Paul T. 1973. Artemisia arbuscula, A. longiloba, and A. nova habitat types in northern Nevada. The Great Basin Naturalist. 33(4): 225-242. [2688]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 16. Beetle, Alan A. 1977. Recognition of Artemisia subspecies--a necessity. In: Johnson, Kendall L., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Proceedings, 6th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1977 May 24-25; Buffalo, WY. Laramie, WY: Shrub Ecology Workshop: 35-42. [419]
  • 17. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 43. Fosberg, M. A.; Hironaka, M. 1964. Soil properties affecting the distribution of big and low sagebrush communities in southern Idaho. American Society of Agronomy Special Publication No. 5: 230-236. [940]
  • 47. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 49. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 51. Hopkins, William E. 1979. Plant associations of south Chiloquin and Klamath Ranger Districts--Winema National Forest. R6-Ecol-79-005. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 96 p. [7339]
  • 54. Jensen, Mark E. 1990. Interpretation of environmental gradients which influence sagebrush community distribution in northeastern Nevada. Journal of Range Management. 43(2): 161-167. [38660]
  • 69. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 79. Morris, Melvin S.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Griggs, Dave. 1976. The geographic and ecological distribution of big sagebrush and other woody Artemesias in Montana. Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences. 36: 56-79. [1695]
  • 81. Mueggler, W. F.; Stewart, W. L. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of western Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-66. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 154 p. [1717]
  • 83. Nettleton, W. D.; Brasher, B. R.; Spencer, E. L.; [and others]. 1986. Differentiation of closely related xerolls that support different sagebrush plant communities in Nevada. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 50: 1277-1280. [5109]
  • 9. Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. 1977. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1002 p. [388]
  • 93. Schlatterer, E. F. 1973. Sagebrush species and subspecies. Range Improvement Notes. 18(2): 1-11. [2077]
  • 94. Schlatterer, Edward F. 1972. A preliminary description of plant communities found on the Sawtooth, White Cloud, Boulder and Pioneer Mountains. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. Unpublished paper on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 111 p. [2076]
  • 96. Sheehy, Dennis P.; Winward, A. H. 1981. Relative palatability of seven Artemisia taxa to mule deer and sheep. Journal of Range Management. 34(5): 397-399. [2128]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: cover, forbs

Historically there has been interest in controlling or eliminating low sagebrush [77,95]. More recently authorities, from the perspectives of wildlife conservation and long-term site productivity, have recommended against widespread control efforts [20,27,123]. Sage-grouse in particular can be adversely impacted when large, contiguous blocks of low sagebrush are burned [61]. Even when conditions allow fire spread, prescribed burning in low sagebrush sites often produces few benefits [20,123]. Predicted increases in forage have in some cases only come belatedly or not at all [38]. Erosion may also be a problem on many harsh sites where revegetation proceeds very slowly. 

Blaisdell and others [20] state that prescribed burning of sagebrush range to improve forage production is useful only when: 1) soils are stable and slopes less than 30%, 2) sagebrush is dense and is more than 33% of plant cover (scattered brush does not limit range productivity), 3) Fire resistant grasses and forbs are more than 20% of cover, and 4) wildlife issues have been taken into consideration as sagebrush is an important part of diets in some areas. They also recommend that burned sagebrush sites (accidental or prescribed) be protected from grazing for 1 or 2 growing seasons. To minimize impacts to wildlife, particularly sage-grouse, burning in patches rather than large areas is recommended [61]. Fall burning is most advantageous from the perspective of conserving desirable grasses for forage, but if weather is conducive, spring burning also kills sagebrush with minimal damage to other species [20]. 

Generally sagebrush grasslands carry fire only when herbaceous fuels exceed 600 to 700 pounds per acre (674-786 kg/ha) [118]. Because forage production is often much lower in low sagebrush habitat types, these types have been used successfully as a firelines where they are adjacent to big sagebrush or other communities where fire is prescribed [12,118,120].

  • 118. Wright, Henry A.; Neuenschwander, Leon F.; Britton, Carlton M. 1979. The role and use of fire in sagebrush-grass and pinyon-juniper plant communities: A state-of-the-art review. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-58. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 48 p. [2625]
  • 12. Beardall, Louis E.; Sylvester, Vern E. 1976. Spring burning for removal of sagebrush competition in Nevada. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 539-547. [406]
  • 120. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1971. Medusahead invasion as influenced by herbicides and grazing on low sagebrush sites. Journal of Range Management. 24(6): 451-454. [2648]
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 27. Bunting, Stephen C.; Kilgore, Bruce M.; Bushey, Charles L. 1987. Guidelines for prescribed burning sagebrush-grass rangelands in the northern Great Basin. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-231. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 33 p. [5281]
  • 38. Eckert, Richard E., Jr.; Bruner, Allen D.; Klomp, Gerald J. 1972. Response of understory species following herbicidal control of low sagebrush. Journal of Range Management. 25: 280-285. [839]
  • 61. Klebenow, Donald A. 1973. The habitat requirements of sage grouse and the role of fire in management. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 305-315. [1345]
  • 77. Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy L. 1986. Response of an alkali sagebrush/fescue site to restoration treatments. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 126-133. [1685]
  • 95. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1990. Use of sagebrush for improvement of wildlife habitat. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Aspen, sagebrush and wildlife management: Proceedings, 17th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1988 June 21-22; Jackson, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management; Shrub Ecology Workshop 19-35. [22929]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, forbs

Recovery time of gray low sagebrush following fire is variable [123]. After fire, if regeneration conditions are favorable, low sagebrush recovers in 2 to 5 years, generally by seed wind-dispersed from another site [23,123]. Regeneration is aided by grasses and forbs that develop in the 1st 2 growing seasons after fire [23]. On harsh sites where cover is low to begin with and/or erosion occurs after fire, recovery may require more than 10 years [20,123]. Slow regeneration may subsequently worsen erosion [20]. Neuenschwander [84] states sagebrush increases in cover after fire to 10% of control in 12 years and to 100% of control in 30 years. This general estimate may be more applicable to larger species than to the dwarf sagebrushes; big sagebrush was observed to "gain dominance of herbaceous layer" in 5 to 30 years [86]. 
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 23. Bradley, Anne F.; Noste, Nonan V.; Fischer, William C. 1992. Fire ecology of forests and woodlands in Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-287. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 128 p. [18700]
  • 84. Neuenschwander, L. F. 1978. The fire induced autecology of selected shrubs of the cold desert and surrounding forests: A-state-of-the-art review. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 31 p. [1747]
  • 86. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; [and others]. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-volume 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. [36978]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: cover, fuel, fuel loading, natural, shrubs

Low sagebrush is severely damaged by fire [123], but because fire is rare where it is dominant, there have been few studies of the physiological effects of fire on low sagebrush. Fires in northwestern Utah conducted in September with relative humidity of 15 to 20%, temperature of 75 degree Fahrenheit (41.6 °C), wind of 5 to 10 miles per hour (8-16 kilometers per hour), and fuel loading of 100 lb/acre (112 kg/ha) "essentially eliminated" the low sagebrush that was dominant (other species present were Sandberg bluegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, and western juniper) [88]. Monsen and Shaw [77] described effects of a fire prescribed in mid-June using a brush burner held a meter above alkali sagebrush. Fuels were so sparse that fires spread only 20 to 30 feet (6-9 m) before burning out. Within this zone fire was "patchy" because of the distribution of alkali sagebrush and Idaho fescue; alkali sagebrush cover was reduced 26% (measured 1 year after the burn). Some shrubs survived and produced seed. A large number of the burned shrubs recovered via regrowth from living branches. Because of the ignition method these findings are not necessarily applicable to natural or most prescribed fires.
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 77. Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy L. 1986. Response of an alkali sagebrush/fescue site to restoration treatments. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 126-133. [1685]
  • 88. Ralphs, Michael H.; Busby, Frank E. 1979. Prescribed burning: vegetative change, forage production, cost, and returns on six demonstration burns in Utah. Journal of Range Management. 32(4): 267-270. [1930]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: initial off-site colonizer

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [101]:
Initial off-site colonizer (off-site, initial community)
  • 101. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: cover, crown fire, density, fire frequency, fire interval, forb, frequency, fuel, fuel loading, low-severity fire, mean fire interval, mesic, shrub, shrubs, surface fire

Fire adaptations: Dwarf sagebrushes (including black, stiff, low, pygmy sagebrush (A. pygmaea), and other sagebrushes) are very susceptible to fire damage [25,27]. Low sagebrush is usually killed by fire and does not sprout [11,84]. Though alkali sagebrush sometimes layers, recovery in burned areas is usually via small, light, wind-dispersed seed for all low sagebrush subspecies [23,123]. Partially injured low sagebrush may regrow from living branches, but sprouting does not occur [77].

FIRE REGIMES: Where dwarf sagebrush species are ecosystem dominants, grass productivity is often limited by adverse soil physical properties: stands generally lack enough fuels to carry a fire [12,20,27]. In addition to low fine fuel loading, wide shrub spacing makes fire infrequent or difficult to prescribe in dwarf sagebrush types [25,27,31,84,86,123]. On the Modoc plateau of northeastern California, low sagebrush burned less frequently than big sagebrush because of wide shrub spacing in low sagebrush types and possibly because of a less flammable herbaceous composition [9]. The case is similar in Craters of the Moon National Monument, where low productivity and sparse herbaceous cover in ridgetop low sagebrush communities make them an effective firebreak except in particularly productive years or microsites [11]. Even in late August low sagebrush communities on the Humboldt National Forest lacked sufficient fine fuels to carry a fire [12]. These communities surrounded big sagebrush communities that were prescribed burned in spring; construction of firelines was not required [12,25]. Mountain big sagebrush communities grew in draws or other areas with deeper soil to support more herbaceous growth while low sagebrush communities were generally confined to areas with shallow soils [12]. 

Fire in low sagebrush habitat types is restricted to more mesic sites or above average productivity years [12]. Where low sagebrush occurs as dominant or component of Colorado pinyon and/or western juniper stands, about 600 to 700 pounds per acre (680-800 kg/ha) of fine fuels are required to carry fire [23,118]. Fine fuel loads generally average 100 to 400 pounds per acre (110-450 kg/ha) but are occasionally as high as 600 pounds per acre (680 kg/ha) in low sagebrush habitat types [67,94]. 

Where low sagebrush occurs in the understory of Colorado pinyon-western juniper stands (or where Colorado pinyon and/or western juniper have increased on low sagebrush communities) surface fine fuel loadings of 600 to 1000 pounds per acre (530-880 kg/ha) are common, particularly in younger or more open stands that allow greater understory development. These early-successional, open stands support fire that kills non-sprouting shrubs, including low sagebrush, particularly when cheatgrass and/or medusahead are present. Low sagebrush recovers from these fires via seedling establishment. Establishment of sagebrush generally occurs after annual and perennial grass and forb development; pinyon and juniper either survive low-severity fire or, after crown fire, grow from seed after shrubs and grasses have established [23]. Surface fire is not common in later-successional pinyon-juniper stands as fine fuels are generally too sparse; closed-canopy stands, however, may carry a crown fire if adjacent sites have enough fuel to support one.

Invasion and increase of western juniper and Colorado pinyon on low sagebrush sites has been a result of livestock grazing and decreasing fire frequency [76]. Burkhardt and Tisdale [29] investigated the fire history of a big sagebrush/gray low sagebrush mosaic habitat on the Owyhee plateau of Idaho. Between 1840 and 1910 mean fire interval was about 4 years (the authors did not separate the 2 habitats in analysis). Of the 4 sites studied, 2 had not burned since 1910, and 2 had burned once. Western juniper invasion of these habitats began in about 1870, increased with fire cessation, and peaked in about 1940. Though fire is not the only control over invasion, it is estimated that in northern California in low sagebrush habitats a fire interval of 50 years would stop encroachment [28]. 

Low sagebrush fire intervals declined as native perennial grasses were grazed [23,121]. In some overgrazed stands grasses are almost entirely confined to areas with shrub canopies [110]. In some cases grazing has increased less palatable annual cheatgrass and medusahead invasion, making fire more frequent rather than less. There is a positive feedback system in that fire reduces sagebrush cover and allows further increase of annuals and subsequent increased risk of fire. Herbaceous production, including desirable and undesirable species, may increase 100% following fire [26]. The possibility of fire is increased during years of above-average precipitation and increased herbaceous growth [27,120]. 

Fire history information of sagebrush habitats is often limited [86]. Miller and Rose [75] described fire history of a low sagebrush steppe in south-central Oregon by determining the years in which western juniper had died from fire injury. Before 1897 mean fire intervals ranged from 12 to 15 years with intervals ranging from 3 to 28 years. Fire generally occurred after years of high radial growth rates (measured in western juniper), indicating that fires occurred during wet years with high forage production, and the most recent fire was 1897. In Lassen County, California, fire history was constructed by observing scar analysis on invading western juniper. The western junipers observed had established in a low sagebrush community between 1600 and 1800 and persist now with a density of 69 trees per acre (28 trees/ha). Fire was evidently sporadic temporally and spatially: only 0.4% of western juniper had fire scars. Some had multiple scars indicating that fires were very small and/or patchy with return intervals that ranged from 10 to 90 years [121]. FIRE REGIMES for ecosystems and communities of which low sagebrush is a component are listed below. See the FEIS species summaries of the ecosystem dominants listed below for more information.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
sagebrush steppe Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [86]
basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata 12-43 [92]
mountain big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana 15-40 [29,44,74]
Wyoming big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis 10-70 (40**) [109,121]
saltbush-greasewood Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus
cheatgrass Bromus tectorum 86]
curlleaf mountain-mahogany* Cercocarpus ledifolius 13-1000 [5,98]
mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii
blackbrush Coleogyne ramosissima
California steppe Festuca-Danthonia spp.
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70 
Rocky Mountain juniper Juniperus scopulorum
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp.
Colorado pinyon Pinus edulis 10-49 [86]
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [3]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [3,8,64]
mountain grasslands Pseudoroegneria spicata 3-40 (10**) [2,3]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species summary
**mean
  • 109. Vincent, Dwain W. 1992. The sagebrush/grasslands of the upper Rio Puerco area, New Mexico. Rangelands. 14(5): 268-271. [19698]
  • 11. Barrington, Mac; Bunting, Steve; Wright, Gerald. 1988. A fire management plan for Craters of the Moon National Monument. Cooperative Agreement CA-9000-8-0005. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Range Resources Department. 52 p. Draft. [1687]
  • 110. Volland, Leonard A. 1985. Plant associations of the central Oregon pumice zone. R6-ECOL-104-1985. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 138 p. [7341]
  • 118. Wright, Henry A.; Neuenschwander, Leon F.; Britton, Carlton M. 1979. The role and use of fire in sagebrush-grass and pinyon-juniper plant communities: A state-of-the-art review. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-58. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 48 p. [2625]
  • 12. Beardall, Louis E.; Sylvester, Vern E. 1976. Spring burning for removal of sagebrush competition in Nevada. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 539-547. [406]
  • 120. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1971. Medusahead invasion as influenced by herbicides and grazing on low sagebrush sites. Journal of Range Management. 24(6): 451-454. [2648]
  • 121. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1981. Demography and fire history of a western juniper stand. Journal of Range Management. 34(6): 501-505. [2659]
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 2. Arno, Stephen F. 1980. Forest fire history in the Northern Rockies. Journal of Forestry. 78(8): 460-465. [11990]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 23. Bradley, Anne F.; Noste, Nonan V.; Fischer, William C. 1992. Fire ecology of forests and woodlands in Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-287. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 128 p. [18700]
  • 25. Britton, Carlton M.; Ralphs, Michael H. 1979. Use of fire as a management tool in sagebrush ecosystems. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources. 101-109. [518]
  • 26. Bunting, Stephen C. 1990. Prescribed fire effects in sagebrush-grasslands and pinyon-juniper woodlands. In: Alexander, M. E.; Bisgrove, G. F., technical coordinator. The art and science of fire management: Proceedings of the 1st Interior West Fire Council annual meeting and workshop; 1988 October 24-27; Kananaskis Village, AB. Information Rep. NOR-X-309. Edmonton, AB: Forestry Canada, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Centre: 176-181. [15519]
  • 27. Bunting, Stephen C.; Kilgore, Bruce M.; Bushey, Charles L. 1987. Guidelines for prescribed burning sagebrush-grass rangelands in the northern Great Basin. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-231. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 33 p. [5281]
  • 28. Bunting, Stephen C.; Kingery, James L.; Strand, Eva. 1999. Effects of succession on species richness of the western juniper woodland/sagebrush steppe mosaic. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Stevens, Richard, compilers. Proceedings: ecology and management of pinyon-juniper communities within the Interior West: Sustaining and restoring a diverse ecosystem; 1997 September 15-18; Provo, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-9. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 76-81. [30496]
  • 29. Burkhardt, Wayne J.; Tisdale, E. W. 1976. Causes of juniper invasion in southwestern Idaho. Ecology. 57: 472-484. [565]
  • 3. Arno, Stephen F. 2000. Fire in western forest ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 97-120. [36984]
  • 31. Clifton, Nancy A. 1981. Response to prescribed fire in a Wyoming big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass habitat type. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 39 p. Thesis. [650]
  • 44. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
  • 5. Arno, Stephen F.; Wilson, Andrew E. 1986. Dating past fires in curlleaf mountain-mahogany communities. Journal of Range Management. 39(3): 241-243. [350]
  • 64. Laven, R. D.; Omi, P. N.; Wyant, J. G.; Pinkerton, A. S. 1980. Interpretation of fire scar data from a ponderosa pine ecosystem in the central Rocky Mountains, Colorado. In: Stokes, Marvin A.; Dieterich, John H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the fire history workshop; 1980 October 20-24; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 46-49. [16041]
  • 67. Lewis, Mont E. 1971. Flora and major plant communities of the Ruby-East Humboldt Mountains with special emphasis on Lamoille Canyon. Elko, NV: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Humboldt National Forest. 62 p. [1450]
  • 74. Miller, Richard F.; Rose, Jeffery A. 1995. Historic expansion of Juniperus occidentalis (western juniper) in southeastern Oregon. The Great Basin Naturalist. 55(1): 37-45. [25666]
  • 75. Miller, Richard F.; Rose, Jeffrey A. 1999. Fire history and western juniper encroachment in sagebrush steppe. Journal of Range Management. 52(6): 550-559. [28671]
  • 76. Miller, Rick; Rose, Jeff. 1998. Pre- and post-settlement fire return intervals on Intermountain sagebrush steppe. In: Annual report: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Agricultural Experiment Station: 16-17. [29194]
  • 77. Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy L. 1986. Response of an alkali sagebrush/fescue site to restoration treatments. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 126-133. [1685]
  • 8. Baisan, Christopher H.; Swetnam, Thomas W. 1990. Fire history on a desert mountain range: Rincon Mountain Wilderness, Arizona, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20: 1559-1569. [14986]
  • 84. Neuenschwander, L. F. 1978. The fire induced autecology of selected shrubs of the cold desert and surrounding forests: A-state-of-the-art review. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 31 p. [1747]
  • 86. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; [and others]. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-volume 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. [36978]
  • 9. Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. 1977. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1002 p. [388]
  • 92. Sapsis, David B. 1990. Ecological effects of spring and fall prescribed burning on basin big sagebrush/Idaho fescue--bluebunch wheatgrass communities. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 105 p. Thesis. [16579]
  • 94. Schlatterer, Edward F. 1972. A preliminary description of plant communities found on the Sawtooth, White Cloud, Boulder and Pioneer Mountains. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. Unpublished paper on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 111 p. [2076]
  • 98. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Taxonomic and geographic limits of Artemisia subgenus Tridentatae (Beetle). In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 20-28. [2141]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: competition, cover, density, fire exclusion, forb, shrub, shrubs, stand-replacement fire, succession

Gray low sagebrush occurs in late succession in a number of drier sagebrush grassland and forest habitat types. Gray low sagebrush is also well represented in early successional stages of many big sagebrush communities and is an early pioneer species in some old stream bottoms [14]. Where dry, rocky, or otherwise restrictive soils of some sites prevent the establishment of big sagebrush, gray low sagebrush persists as a dominant [17].  

Though not tolerant of fire damage, low sagebrush tolerates (or increases) with disturbance by grazing. Low sagebrush has increased where present in grazed areas, and low sagebrush has invaded adjacent short grasslands where grazing reduces competition [110]. In Nevada, the community composition of almost all gray low sagebrush and hotsprings sagebrush shrubsteppes have been "greatly altered" by grazing [124]. The increase in low sagebrush may not be striking: on the Craters of the Moon National Monument low sagebrush cover seldom exceeds 13%, even with grazing and fire exclusion [11]. Even where an increase in low sagebrush is not caused by grazing, low sagebrush becomes more prominent as trampling restricts desirable grasses to growth only under shrub canopies [48,110]. Though moderate use may lead to increase, gray low sagebrush may decrease in cover if severely overbrowsed [81]. 

Pinyons and junipers invade or have invaded some communities historically dominated low sagebrush and big sagebrush. Whether in a low sagebrush community being invaded or in a mid-successional-species community historically dominated by pinyons and junipers, low sagebrush aids the establishment of juniper and pinyon by ameliorating conditions for seedlings [35]. Western juniper is the most common invader of low sagebrush steppes; its increase is thought to be a result of livestock introduction, and, to a lesser extent, fire exclusion. Wet periods of a few years also aid western juniper seedling establishment. Much of the increase occurred with grazing that took place before this century and it is therefore difficult to find quantitative support for the modalities of western juniper increase [76]. In Lassen County, California, a study of western juniper increase on sagebrush steppe showed that since approximately 1600, western juniper density increased from 0 to 28 trees/hectare on low sagebrush sites, and 0 to 150 trees/ha on big sagebrush sites. Establishment, measured as time required for doubling of canopy cover, slowed after 1800 [121]. 

After stand-replacement fire in juniper or pinyon/juniper stands in Colorado and Utah succession begins with an annual grass stage. This is followed by perennial grass and forb development. Low sagebrush and other shrubs develop after perennial grasses have established; pinyons and junipers establish after low sagebrush and other shrubs, often beneath their canopies. Pinyon and juniper may eventually grow closed canopy and restrict understory production [23]. 

  • 11. Barrington, Mac; Bunting, Steve; Wright, Gerald. 1988. A fire management plan for Craters of the Moon National Monument. Cooperative Agreement CA-9000-8-0005. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Range Resources Department. 52 p. Draft. [1687]
  • 110. Volland, Leonard A. 1985. Plant associations of the central Oregon pumice zone. R6-ECOL-104-1985. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 138 p. [7341]
  • 121. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1981. Demography and fire history of a western juniper stand. Journal of Range Management. 34(6): 501-505. [2659]
  • 124. Zamora, B.; Tueller, Paul T. 1973. Artemisia arbuscula, A. longiloba, and A. nova habitat types in northern Nevada. The Great Basin Naturalist. 33(4): 225-242. [2688]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A. 1961. Range survey in Teton County, Wyoming: Part 1. Ecology of range resources. Bull. 376. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 42 p. [417]
  • 17. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 23. Bradley, Anne F.; Noste, Nonan V.; Fischer, William C. 1992. Fire ecology of forests and woodlands in Utah. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-287. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 128 p. [18700]
  • 35. Drivas, Evan P.; Everett, Richard L. 1988. Water relations characteristics of competing singleleaf pinyon seedlings and sagebrush nurse plants. Forest Ecology and Management. 23: 27-37. [3056]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 76. Miller, Rick; Rose, Jeff. 1998. Pre- and post-settlement fire return intervals on Intermountain sagebrush steppe. In: Annual report: Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Agricultural Experiment Station: 16-17. [29194]
  • 81. Mueggler, W. F.; Stewart, W. L. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of western Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-66. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 154 p. [1717]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: layering, perfect

Breeding system: Low sagebrush flowers are perfect [113]. Some sagebrush species generally have perfect flowers but sometimes have outer flowers that are female and central flowers that are sterile [49]. It is not known whether this occurs in low sagebrush.

Pollination: No information

Seed production: Reproduction of low sagebrush is generally by seed, even though alkali sagebrush layers occasionally [13]. There are frequent large seed crops; seeds are light, wind-dispersed cypselas [123]. Cleaned seed averages 980,000 per pound (2,160/g) [13,71]. Fruits are about 0.08 inch (2 mm) long. Seed viability is about 4 to 6 years in dry storage [95].  

Seed dispersal: Seeds are dispersed by wind [95,123].

Seed banking: No information

Germination: Germination requires warm temperatures following a cold period of stratification. A 10-day chilling at 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 °C) is used for stratification in nurseries [111]. Highest germination rates are between 73 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (23-30 °C). Seed from California germinated on many soil types under a wide temperature range [114]. Light is required for germination [95].

Seedling establishment/growth: There is high mortality in the 1st year of growth [95]. Establishment is probably greatest when seeds are covered by a thin layer of soil. Best practices for planting seed are 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) deep planting in fall or winter on sites with sun exposure and shallow clayey soils [111].

Asexual regeneration: Low sagebrush does not sprout; layering occurs infrequently [71,73,95,112]. Alkali sagebrush layers more frequently than the typical variety [17]. In Sublette County, Wyoming an undescribed form of sagebrush  thought to be a stable hybrid of alkali sagebrush and Wyoming big sagebrush is characterized by more frequent layering [72]. In laboratory tests, stem cuttings of gray low sagebrush failed to root [40].

  • 111. Vories, Kimery C. 1981. Growing Colorado plants from seed: a state of the art. Volume I. Shrubs. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-103. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 80 p. [3426]
  • 112. Ward, George H. 1953. Artemisia, section Seriphidium, in North America: a cytotaxonomic study. Contributions from the Dudley Herberium. 4(6): 155-205. [2454]
  • 113. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 114. West, Marda Lee. 1969. Physiological ecology of three species of Artemisia in the White Mountains of California. Los Angeles: University of California. 100 p. Dissertation. [7434]
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 17. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 40. Everett, Richard L.; Meeuwig, Richard O.; Robertson, Joseph H. 1978. Propagation of Nevada shrubs by stem cutting. Journal of Range Management. 31(6): 426-429. [894]
  • 49. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 71. McArthur, E. Durant; Blauer, A. Clyde; Plummer, A. Perry; Stevens, Richard. 1979. Characteristics and hybridization of important Intermountain shrubs. III. Sunflower family. Res. Pap. INT-220. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 82 p. [1571]
  • 72. McArthur, E. Durant; Sanderson, Stewart C. 1999. Ecotones: introduction, scale, and big sagebrush example. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Ostler, W. Kent; Wambolt, Carl L., compilers. Proceedings: shrub ecotones; 1998 August 12-14; Ephraim, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-11. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 3-8. [36053]
  • 73. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. [7342]
  • 95. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1990. Use of sagebrush for improvement of wildlife habitat. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Aspen, sagebrush and wildlife management: Proceedings, 17th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1988 June 21-22; Jackson, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management; Shrub Ecology Workshop 19-35. [22929]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: chamaephyte

RAUNKIAER [89] LIFE FORM:
Chamaephyte
  • 89. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: ecotype, phenology, phenotype

In low sagebrush new growth starts in May, young flower heads develop in July, and flowers open in August and September with seed ripening in October and November [13,73,93,95]. Alkali sagebrush has an earlier phenology than gray low sagebrush or other sagebrushes [48]. New growth of alkali sagebrush begins in May, young heads appear in June, and flowering and seed ripening occur in July and August; this is about 1 month earlier than for other low sagebrushes [13,71,93]. Alkali sagebrush is the only sagebrush that blooms this early [98].

Seasonal development of hotsprings sagebrush is poorly known. Some maintain that hotsprings sagebrush exhibits earlier phenological development [73], but Shultz [98] reports that hotsprings sagebrush blooms in late summer and fall. Seed matures from late August through October, and ripens by October or November [13,117]. 

In all subspecies, early season growth is generally terminal bud growth; as soil moisture declines over summer, axillary growth becomes more important. If fall moisture is present, any late season growth is axillary. Leaves persist through winter and up to mid-season the following year; leaves from the previous year are shed during moisture stress [114]. 

Phenology may vary by phenotype as well as by geographic area. Eckert [36] reported that in Oregon, a small-headed ecotype of low sagebrush blooms from August to September, whereas a large-headed form flowers during July and August.

  • 114. West, Marda Lee. 1969. Physiological ecology of three species of Artemisia in the White Mountains of California. Los Angeles: University of California. 100 p. Dissertation. [7434]
  • 117. Winward, Alma H. 1980. Taxonomy and ecology of sagebrush in Oregon. Station Bulletin 642. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 15 p. [2585]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 36. Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1957. Vegetation-soil relationships in some Artemisia types in northern Harney and Lake Counties. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State College. 208 p. Dissertation. [837]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 71. McArthur, E. Durant; Blauer, A. Clyde; Plummer, A. Perry; Stevens, Richard. 1979. Characteristics and hybridization of important Intermountain shrubs. III. Sunflower family. Res. Pap. INT-220. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 82 p. [1571]
  • 73. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. [7342]
  • 93. Schlatterer, E. F. 1973. Sagebrush species and subspecies. Range Improvement Notes. 18(2): 1-11. [2077]
  • 95. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1990. Use of sagebrush for improvement of wildlife habitat. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Aspen, sagebrush and wildlife management: Proceedings, 17th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1988 June 21-22; Jackson, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management; Shrub Ecology Workshop 19-35. [22929]
  • 98. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Taxonomic and geographic limits of Artemisia subgenus Tridentatae (Beetle). In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 20-28. [2141]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Cycle

Persistence: EVERGREEN

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread and common on clay soils in valleys and slopes.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, fire frequency, frequency, phenology, shrub

There have historically been extensive efforts including burning, disking,
chaining, and herbicide spraying aimed at reducing sagebrush cover in favor
of more desirable forage [77,95]. Much of this has harmed sage-grouse habitat
[24].  Additionally, grasses have generally not responded favorably
to  sagebrush removal.
Revegetation of drier sites may be extremely difficult because of moisture
stress and a short growing season. This was especially true
where poor condition low sagebrush/bottlebrush squirreltail range was treated in
northern Nevada; these sites showed
little increase in forage production for 2 to 4 years even with grazing practices conducive to grass
establishment [38]. Severely disturbed gray low
sagebrush communities, particularly those on heavy clay soils, are susceptible
to invasion by medusahead [32,120,122]. There are some reports of low sagebrush
removal improving the productivity of grasses such as Idaho fescue, bluebunch
wheatgrass, and Thurber neeedlegrass [38], but in most cases the low potential gain in
forage is offset by negative consequences [20,27,123]. Shrub removal may
also increase erosion to further reduce grass establishment [48]. In addition,
even when control is successful, sagebrush reinvasion cannot be prevented by good grazing management
(but is hastened by poor management) [31]. 



The shallow, claypan soils in low sagebrush stands restrict drainage and root
growth, resulting in low productivity and limited use. Severe trampling damage
to supersaturated soils could occur if sites are used in early spring when there
is abundant snowmelt. Trampling damage in low sagebrush habitat types is
greatest when high clay content soils are wet. In drier areas with more gravelly soils, no serious trampling
damage occurs, even when the soils are wet [48]. Light spring grazing is
recommended [17].
Also during early spring, frost heaving, due to the saturated conditions, may
adversely affect seedling establishment [105]. 

Weeds: Medusahead, an annual grass native to Asia, is of concern in
low sagebrush communities because it decreases forage for livestock and wild
game and increases fire frequency [32]. Like low sagebrush, medusahead
exhibits a strong preference for clay soils [119]. In northeastern
California and northwestern Nevada, clayey soils have supported Lahontan
sagebrush. Establishment of Lahontan sagebrush increased the deposition and
residence time of aeolian dust. The veneer and cryptobiotic soil crust on
aeolian dust are more hardy than those on clay soils without aeolian deposition.
The crust protecting the aeolian dust has been disturbed by grazing. This
process has facilitated invasion and growth of medusahead [21].

Herbicides: All varieties are susceptible to 2,4-D, particularly in spring [52].
Spraying is more effective if it is done before vegetative growth is
completed. Early season spraying also causes less damage to broadleaf herbs in
the understory. Chemical removal of gray
low sagebrush can increase herbaceous production on some sites but on most sites
it is counterproductive [17,120]. Treatment of smaller blocks can
minimize adverse impacts on wildlife. Alkali sagebrush has an earlier phenology than most other sagebrush species, and
this could affect effectiveness of herbicidal control where it is mixed with
other species of sagebrush [48].

  • 105. Tweit, Susan J.; Houston, Kent E. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of the Shoshone National Forest. Cody, WY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 2, Shoshone National Forest. 143 p. [2377]
  • 119. Young, James A.; Clements, Charlie D.; Nader, Glenn. 1999. Medusahead and clay: the rarity of perennial seedling establishment. Rangelands. 21(6): 19-20. [33087]
  • 120. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1971. Medusahead invasion as influenced by herbicides and grazing on low sagebrush sites. Journal of Range Management. 24(6): 451-454. [2648]
  • 122. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A.; Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1984. Successional patterns and productivity potentials of the sagebrush and salt desert ecosystems. In: Developing strategies for rangeland management: a report. Westview Special Studies in Agriculture Science and Policy Series. Boulder, CO: Westview Press: 1259-1299. [2669]
  • 123. Young, Richard P. 1983. Fire as a vegetation management tool in rangelands of the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 18-31. [2681]
  • 17. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 21. Blank, Robert R.; Trent, James D.; Young, James A. 1992. Sagebrush communities on clayey soils of northeastern California: a fragile equilibrium. In: Clary, Warren P.; McArthur, E. Durant; Bedunah, Don; Wambolt, Carl L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on ecology and management of riparian shrub communities; 1991 May 29-31; Sun Valley, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-289. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 198-202. [19121]
  • 24. Braun, Clait E.; Beck, Thomas D. I. 1996. Effects of research on sage grouse management. Transactions, 61st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. 61: 429-436. [35392]
  • 27. Bunting, Stephen C.; Kilgore, Bruce M.; Bushey, Charles L. 1987. Guidelines for prescribed burning sagebrush-grass rangelands in the northern Great Basin. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-231. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 33 p. [5281]
  • 31. Clifton, Nancy A. 1981. Response to prescribed fire in a Wyoming big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass habitat type. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 39 p. Thesis. [650]
  • 32. Dahl, B. E.; Tisdale, E. W. 1975. Environmental factors related to medusahead distribution. Journal of Range Management. 28(6): 463-468. [728]
  • 38. Eckert, Richard E., Jr.; Bruner, Allen D.; Klomp, Gerald J. 1972. Response of understory species following herbicidal control of low sagebrush. Journal of Range Management. 25: 280-285. [839]
  • 48. Hironaka, M.; Fosberg, M. A.; Winward, A. H. 1983. Sagebrush-grass habitat types of southern Idaho. Bulletin Number 35. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. 44 p. [1152]
  • 52. Hormay, August L.; Alberico, Fred J.; Lord, P. B. 1962. Experiences with 2,4-D spraying on the Lassen National Forest. Journal of Range Management. 15(6): 325-328. [38665]
  • 77. Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy L. 1986. Response of an alkali sagebrush/fescue site to restoration treatments. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 126-133. [1685]
  • 95. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1990. Use of sagebrush for improvement of wildlife habitat. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Aspen, sagebrush and wildlife management: Proceedings, 17th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1988 June 21-22; Jackson, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management; Shrub Ecology Workshop 19-35. [22929]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: layering, natural, restoration

Low sagebrush can be successfully transplanted or seeded in restoration [79]. Low sagebrush reproduces via layering but this has not been extensively studied with respect to revegetation purposes [95]. Transplanting is commonly successful, either in spring or fall [73,87]. Broadcast seeding is also used [87]. Low sagebrush establishment from seed has been rated as "medium," and establishment from transplants as "very good." Seed production and handling are rated as "medium"  because seeds are small. Natural spread by seed and vegetatively is "good." Gray low sagebrush and hotsprings sagebrush are well-adapted to disturbance and are able to stabilize soil [87]. Alkali sagebrush has been useful in rehabilitating basic mine spoils produced from oil shale works [71].
  • 71. McArthur, E. Durant; Blauer, A. Clyde; Plummer, A. Perry; Stevens, Richard. 1979. Characteristics and hybridization of important Intermountain shrubs. III. Sunflower family. Res. Pap. INT-220. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 82 p. [1571]
  • 73. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. [7342]
  • 79. Morris, Melvin S.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Griggs, Dave. 1976. The geographic and ecological distribution of big sagebrush and other woody Artemesias in Montana. Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences. 36: 56-79. [1695]
  • 87. Plummer, A. Perry. 1977. Revegetation of disturbed Intermountain area sites. In: Thames, J. C., ed. Reclamation and use of disturbed lands of the Southwest. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 302-337. [171]
  • 95. Shaw, Nancy L.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1990. Use of sagebrush for improvement of wildlife habitat. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Aspen, sagebrush and wildlife management: Proceedings, 17th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1988 June 21-22; Jackson, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management; Shrub Ecology Workshop 19-35. [22929]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Low sagebrush and big sagebrush are important cover for sage-grouse throughout its range [10,20]. Gray low sagebrush has some value as cover, especially for small birds and mammals. Sage-grouse use low sagebrush communities for nesting, roosting, and resting sites [61], as well as for escape cover. Mule deer use gray low sagebrush communities in Oregon as fawning and fawn-rearing areas [66]. Cover values for various wildlife species have been rated as follows [34,66]: 
  Colorado Montana Oregon Utah Wyoming
pronghorn ---- poor ---- poor good
elk ---- ---- ---- poor poor
mule deer ---- poor poor poor poor
white-tailed deer ---- ---- ---- ---- poor
small mammals fair fair ---- fair good
small nongame birds poor poor ---- fair good
upland game birds ---- poor ---- fair good
waterfowl ---- ---- ---- poor poor
  • 10. Barnett, Jenny K.; Crawford, John A. 1994. Pre-laying nutrition of sage grouse hens in Oregon. Journal of Range Management. 47: 114-118. [31099]
  • 20. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. [467]
  • 34. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]
  • 61. Klebenow, Donald A. 1973. The habitat requirements of sage grouse and the role of fire in management. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 305-315. [1345]
  • 66. Leckenby, Donavin A.; Sheehy, Dennis P.; Nellis, Carl H.; [and others]. 1982. Wildlife habitats in managed rangelands--the Great Basin of southeastern Oregon: mule deer. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-139. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 40 p. [1432]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Utilization

No information

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Nutritional Value

Energy and protein values of low sagebrush are rated fair [34,44].
Crude protein, fat, and fiber contents of hotsprings sagebrush leaves and stems
are 6.40%, 4.40%, and 34.54%, respectively [13].
Percent crude protein varied from 10 to 13% in low sagebrush in central Oregon,
peaking in April when use by mule deer is highest [107]. Alkali sagebrush has a more rapid seasonal drop in percent crude protein than
other, later blooming sagebrushes [33]. Nutrient
values were measured as follows [15]: 
 leavesstemsleaves and stems
crude protein (%)10.413.6710.69
crude fat (%)9.111.217.73
crude fiber (%)18.2626.7956.79
water (%)5.034.394.86
ash (%)4.872.834.67
CaO (%)0.500.330.68
P2O5 (%)0.230.070.83
Mg (%)---- 0.24
Mn (ppm)---- 37.10
  • 107. Urness, Philip Joel. 1966. Influence of range improvement practices on composition, production, and utilization of Artemisia deer winter range in central Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 182 p. Dissertation. [3060]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 15. Beetle, Alan A. 1962. Range survey in Teton County, Wyoming: Part 2. Utilization and condition classes. Bull. 400. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 38 p. [418]
  • 33. Dealy, J. Edward; Leckenby, Donavin A.; Concannon, Diane M. 1981. Wildlife habitats on managed rangelands--the Great Basin of southeastern Oregon: plant communities and their importance to wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-120. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest and Range Experiment Station. 66 p. [786]
  • 34. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806]
  • 44. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Artemisia arbuscula

Artemisia arbuscula is a species of sagebrush known by the common names little sagebrush, low sagebrush, or black sagebrush.

It is native to the western United States from Washington to California to Colorado, where it grows in open, exposed habitat on dry, sterile soils high in rock and clay content. This is a gray-green to gray shrub forming mounds generally no higher than 30 centimeters. Its many branches are covered in hairy leaves each less than a centimeter long. The inflorescence is a spike-shaped array of clusters of hairy flower heads. Each head contains a few pale yellow disc florets. The fruit is a tiny achene less than a millimeter wide.

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Notes

Comments

Artemisia arbuscula is one of the more perplexing species in the Tridentatae complex. Anatomic and morphologic characteristics suggest multiple hybrid origins for the subspecies. Deciduous leaves of flowering stems in plants that otherwise have persistent leaves suggest a hybrid origin involving plants of the A. tridentata and A. cana lineages. In most instances, populations of A. arbuscula appear to be reproductively stable. The disposition of Artemisia arbuscula subsp. longicaulis Winward & McArthur (with 2n = 54) has not been determined.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the terms: diploid, phenology

The currently accepted scientific name of low sagebrush is Artemisia
arbuscula Nutt. (Asteraceae). Currently recognized subspecies
include [58]:

Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula (Nutt.) H. & C.  gray low sagebrush

Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longicaulis Winward &McArthur  Lahontan sagebrush

Artemisia arbuscula ssp. longiloba (Osterhout) L. Shultz  alkali sagebrush

Artemisia arbuscula ssp. thermopola Beetle  hotsprings sagebrush

Alkali sagebrush has been previously classified as a
separate species (A. longiloba (Osterh.) Beetle) and as a variant of low sagebrush
(A. a. var. longiloba (Osterhout) Dorn)
[58,113]. Black sagebrush
(A. nova) used to be included as a variant or subspecies of low sagebrush
A. a. var. nova (A. Nels.) Cronq.;
A. a. ssp. nova (A. Nels.) G.H. Ward) because of apparent
intergradation between the 2 taxa. The species were separated when genetic analyses
showed that black sagebrush
is tetraploid while low sagebrush is diploid
[58,71]. In this
species summary, the common name low sagebrush is used when information applies to all
subspecies, otherwise subspecies' common names are used.
Hybridization has apparently occurred between low sagebrush and tall threetip
sagebrush (A. tripartita ssp.
tripartita), basin big sagebrush (A. tridentata ssp. tridentata),
and Wyoming big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. wyomingensis) [71,73]. Previously it was assumed that
alkali sagebrush did not hybridize because of its early phenology relative to other sagebrushes
(Artemisia spp.) [71]. More recently, populations in Sublette County, Wyoming,
have been described as stable hybrids of alkali sagebrush and Wyoming big
sagebrush [72]. Beetle [13]
speculated thathotsprings sagebrush originated as a
hybrid of tall threetip sagebrush and the gray low sagebrush. Lahontan sagebrush is thought to
possibly be a stable hybrid of gray low sagebrush and Wyoming big sagebrush
[72]. Intermediates between gray low sagebrush and alkali
sagebrush have been reported [113].
  • 113. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 13. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. [416]
  • 58. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Available: North Carolina Botanical Garden. In cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [2001, January 16]. [36715]
  • 71. McArthur, E. Durant; Blauer, A. Clyde; Plummer, A. Perry; Stevens, Richard. 1979. Characteristics and hybridization of important Intermountain shrubs. III. Sunflower family. Res. Pap. INT-220. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 82 p. [1571]
  • 72. McArthur, E. Durant; Sanderson, Stewart C. 1999. Ecotones: introduction, scale, and big sagebrush example. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Ostler, W. Kent; Wambolt, Carl L., compilers. Proceedings: shrub ecotones; 1998 August 12-14; Ephraim, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-11. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 3-8. [36053]
  • 73. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. [7342]

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Common Names

low sagebrush

early sagebrush

dwarf sagebrush

subspecies:

gray low sagebrush

grey low sagebrush

Lahontan sagebrush

alkali sagebrush

hotsprings sagebrush

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!