Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Species: Silver sagebrush is widely distributed across western North America. It occurs from southern British Columbia east to southwestern Manitoba and south to Minnesota, Nebraska, northern New Mexico and Arizona, and southern California [71,92]. Distributed over 53,221 mi2 (137,800 km2) of the western United States, it is 2nd only to big sagebrush in total area occupied by a sagebrush species [12,13]. Silver sagebrush is most common in the northern Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, and Intermountain regions [198]. It is relatively uncommon in the Great Basin [126]. It is rare in Utah, British Columbia, and Manitoba, and absent from Washington [38,92].  Plants database provides maps showing the overall distribution of silver sagebrush and distributions of the subspecies.

Subspecies: Bolander silver sagebrush occurs from north-central Oregon, where it occurs in montane meadows of the Ochoco and Blue mountains and on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range [37], south through mountainous regions and the eastern edge of the Great Basin to Inyo and Tulare counties, California, and east to Humboldt and Washoe counties, Nevada. Bolander silver sagebrush populations are disjunct from the other 2 subspecies [30,71,92,93,112,126].

Plains silver sagebrush occurs from southern British Columbia east to southwestern Manitoba and south to western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, central Wyoming, and south-central Montana [71,92,190]. Most common east of the Continental Divide, it is widely distributed in the northern Great Plains. Common in Saskatchewan, it becomes increasingly sparse to the south except along watercourses and bottomlands, where it may be locally abundant  [90,112]. Distributions of plains and mountain silver sagebrush overlap in eastern Idaho, western Montana, across Wyoming, and in north-central Colorado. Outlying populations occur in west-central Colorado and the eastern Dakotas [71].

Mountain silver sagebrush is most common west of the Continental Divide. It is distributed from central Idaho and western Montana east to central Colorado, south to northeastern New Mexico and north-central Arizona, and west to central Nevada and eastern Oregon [71,92,112,126,190].

  • 112. McArthur, E. Durant. 1994. Ecology, distribution, and values of sagebrush within the Intermountain Region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 347-351. [24308]
  • 12. 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]
  • 126. Mozingo, Hugh N. 1987. Shrubs of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 342 p. [1702]
  • 13. 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]
  • 190. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 30. CalFlora. 2000. Information on California plants for education, research and conservation [Online]. Berkeley, CA: The CalFlora Database (Producer). Available: http://www.calflora.org/ [2002, September 19]. [42048]
  • 37. Crawford, Rex C.; Kagan, Jimmy. 2001. Wildlife habitat definitions: No. 16. Shrub-steppe. In: Northwest Habitat Institute, IBIS (Interactive Biodiversity Information System) [Online]. [Adapted from Johnson, David H.; O'Neil, Thomas A., eds. Wildlife habitat relationships in Oregon and Washington. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press]. Available: http://www.nwhi.org/ibis/wildhabs/WHDR_H16.asp [2002, September 19]. [42046]
  • 38. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. [28653]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 90. Johnson, Kendall L. 1979. Basic synecological relationships of the sagebrush types on the high plains of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources: 42-49. [1281]
  • 92. 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]
  • 93. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 3 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]

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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 [16]:

2 Cascade Mountains

3 Southern Pacific Border

4 Sierra Mountains

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

14 Great Plains

15 Black Hills Uplift

16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
  • 16. 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]

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Occurrence in North America

AZCACOIDMNMTNE
NVNMNDORSDUTWY


ABBCMBSK

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: cover, cypsela, forb, forbs, introgression, litter, perfect, rhizome, shrub, shrubs, succession

Silver sagebrush is a native shrub with semiwoody to woody stems [92]. Mature plants generally range from 1.3 to 3.3 feet (0.4-1 m) in height and are densely branched [38,168]. Plants on upland sites tend to be smaller than plants on bottomlands and other moist sites [176]. The lanceolate leaves are thin and narrow, ranging from 0.8 to 3.5 inches (2-9 cm) in length [57,157,168]. Plants with lobed leaves are probably showing introgression with big sagebrush [12,188]. Vegetative shoots are evergreen and perennial; floral shoots are annual but somewhat persistent after drying [72]. The inflorescence is a panicle of perfect disc flowers [57,75]. The fruit is a small (~ 2.5 × 1 mm), sticky-walled cypsela bearing a single, tiny seed [38,111,168,171,191]. Harvey [71] reported mean mass, length, and width of plains silver sagebrush seed from Montana at 680 µg, 2.1 mm, and 0.90 mm, respectively. The root system consists of a taproot with lateral roots [71]. Plants in Saskatchewan had deep taproots (7-10+ ft. (2-4+ m)) without much lateral branching in upper soil layers [36]. Silver sagebrush is rhizomatous; rhizomes are generally located within a few inches of the soil surface [71]. Rhizome length of plains silver sagebrush in eastern Montana averaged 3.4 feet (1.1 m): 3.3 times more than mean plant height of 13 inches (32 cm). Individual rhizomes bore 1 to 52 sprouts [187].

Plant descriptions provided in this section present information relevant to fire ecology and are not meant as identification keys. Several florae [38,57,75,111,168,191] provide keys for identifying silver sagebrush.

Subspecies: Infrataxa are morphologically distinguished by plant height and relative leaf size, color, and hairiness of herbage [75,191]. Distinctions are not clear-cut, and there is considerable overlap in the subspecies' characteristics [38]. Beetle [12] and Winward [198] provide keys for distinguishing silver sagebrush infrataxa. Gross differences in the subspecies' morphology follow.

Bolander silver sagebrush is a relatively low, thickly branched, round shrub [91]. It is less than 3 feet (0.9 m) in height. Stems are woody at the base and bear relatively small (1- to 2-inch-long (3-5 cm)), narrow leaves. Fruits are less than 1.2 mm in length, and resinous [75]. Bolander silver sagebrush is easily distinguished because of its restricted range [12].

Plains silver sagebrush is the tallest of the subspecies. It has an erect, freely branching growth form, typically reaching 3 to 4 feet (0.9-1 m) in height at maturity but sometimes as much as 4.9 to 6.6 feet (1.5-2 m) [57,90,168]. It has relatively larger, wider leaves (2-4 inches × 0.4 inch (4-9 × 1 cm)) with a denser, whiter covering of tomentum [38,89] compared to mountain silver sagebrush. 

Mountain silver sagebrush is erect and freely branching in form [90]. It grows from 0.3 to 1 foot (0.1-0.3 m) in height. It is differentiated from plains silver sagebrush by its relatively shorter stature, smaller (0.8-5.3 cm long), narrower, more strongly lobed leaves, and less silvery-white (often dark green) herbage [12,85,191].

Species' stand/age class structure: Silver sagebrush communities are usually structurally simple, consisting of silver sagebrush and an understory of graminoids. Silver sagebrush is often the only shrub [65,143,155,203], and forb cover is usually sparse [64,132]. Spacing varies from widely spaced silver sagebrush plants or clustered colonies to a close arrangement of shrubs [65,69,78,132,186]. Silver sagebrush in late succession can form nearly closed cover [69,198]. Hirsch [78] found a range of 674 to 4,519 silver sagebrush per hectare in a plains silver sagebrush-western wheatgrass community in southwestern North Dakota. Another western North Dakota study showed the few forbs in the community were most abundant near plains silver sagebrush, while bunchgrasses were more plentiful in shrub interspaces [73]. Bare ground and biological soil crust cover tend to be low in undisturbed silver sagebrush communities [15,132]. On a mountain silver sagebrush community in eastern Oregon, mean bare ground and litter cover on undisturbed soils were < 3% and 80%, respectively. Maximum bare ground cover on disturbed soils was 17% [132].

Woody sagebrush species are long lived, with some species exceeding 100 years of age [193]. As a cloning species, however, silver sagebrush probably does not fit this general pattern. Maximum life span and typical age class structure of silver sagebrush need further investigation. Wambolt and others [187] found age class structure of plains silver sagebrush in eastern Montana was as follows:

Plant part Mean age (yrs) Standard deviation Number of samples
stems 3.4a,1 2.0 204
taproots 6.9b 3.1 28
parent rhizome2 8.8c 3.7 68
rhizome system3 6.0b 2.5 128
1Significant (p<0.05) differences followed by different letters
2Rhizome originating from a parent (or dead) stump to which sprout was directly connected.
3Rhizomes sections other than in 2 above.

Physiology:
Flooding - Silver sagebrush has superior flooding tolerance compared to other woody sagebrush species [157].

Drought - Drought tolerance of silver sagebrush is uncertain. The species is markedly sensitive to water stress in the seedling stage [186,187], and has been noted as either drought intolerant [112] or tolerant [47,60] at maturity. Within the species, plains, mountain, and Bolander silver sagebrush have been ranked least to most drought tolerant, respectively [163]. Anecdotal evidence from northern Great Plains studies during and after the "dust bowl" era (1937-1943) suggests that silver sagebrush is well adapted to survive severe, prolonged drought. On study sites across the northern Great Plains, adult postdrought survivorship of silver sagebrush was comparable to big sagebrush, and silver sagebrush showed better seedling establishment than big sagebrush after the drought had ended [47,144].

  • 111. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 112. McArthur, E. Durant. 1994. Ecology, distribution, and values of sagebrush within the Intermountain Region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 347-351. [24308]
  • 12. 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]
  • 132. Padgett, Wayne George. 1981. Ecology of riparian plant communities in southern Malheur National Forest. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 143 p. Thesis. [14933]
  • 143. Reed, John F. 1952. The vegetation of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, Wyoming. The American Midland Naturalist. 48(3): 700-729. [1949]
  • 144. Reed, Merton J.; Peterson, Roald A. 1961. Vegetation, soil, and cattle responses to grazing on northern Great Plains range. Tech. Bull. 1252. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 79 p. [4286]
  • 15. Belnap, Jayne; Kaltenecker, Julie Hilty; Rosentreter, Roger; [and others]. 2001. Biological soil crusts: ecology and management. Technical Reference 1730-2. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Science and Technology Center, Information and Communications Group. 110 p. [40277]
  • 155. 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]
  • 157. Schultz, Brad; McAdoo, Kent. 2002. Common sagebrush in Nevada. Special Publication SP-02-02. Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 9 p. Available: http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/Spec%20Pubs/SP-02-02.doc [2002, October 1]. [42043]
  • 163. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Comparative leaf anatomy of sagebrush: ecological considerations. 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: 253-264. [2140]
  • 168. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 171. Stubbendieck, James; Hatch, Stephan L.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1992. North American range plants. 4th ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 493 p. [25162]
  • 176. Thatcher, Albert P. 1959. Distribution of sagebrush as related to site differences in Albany County, Wyoming. Journal of Range Management. 12(2): 55-61. [2314]
  • 186. Walton, Todd Patrick. 1984. Reproductive mechanisms of plains silver sagebrush Artemisia cana cana in southeastern Montana. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 161 p. Thesis. [100]
  • 187. Wambolt, Carl L.; Walton, Todd; White, Richard S. 1989. Seed dispersal characteristics of plains silver sagebrush. Prairie Naturalist. 21(3): 113-118. [15530]
  • 188. Ward, George H. 1953. Artemisia, section Seriphidium, in North America: a cytotaxonomic study. Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium. 4(6): 155-205. [2454]
  • 191. 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]
  • 193. West, Neil E. 1988. Intermountain deserts, shrub steppes, and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 209-230. [19546]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 203. Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p. [2686]
  • 36. Coupland, Robert T.; Johnson, R. E. 1965. Rooting characteristics of native grassland species of Saskatchewan. Journal of Ecology. 53: 475-507. [702]
  • 38. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. [28653]
  • 47. Ellison, Lincoln; Woolfolk, E. J. 1937. Effects of drought on vegetation near Miles City, Montana. Ecology. 18(3): 329-336. [6264]
  • 57. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 60. Gutknecht, Kurt W. 1989. Xeriscaping: an alternative to thirsty landscapes. Utah Science. 50(4): 142-146. [10166]
  • 64. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]
  • 65. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1984. The vegetation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-113. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p. [1077]
  • 69. Hanson, Herbert C.; Whitman, Warren. 1938. Characteristics of major grassland types in western North Dakota. Ecological Monographs. 8(2): 57-114. [15]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 72. Hayes, Doris W.; Garrison, George A. 1960. Key to important woody plants of eastern Oregon and Washington. Agric. Handb. 148. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 227 p. [1109]
  • 73. Hazlett, Donald L.; Hoffman, George R. 1975. Plant species distributional patterns in Artemisia tridentata- and Artemisia cana-dominated vegetation in western North Dakota. Botanical Gazette. 136(1): 72-77. [1111]
  • 75. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 78. Hirsch, Kathie Jean. 1985. Habitat classification of grasslands and shrublands of southwestern North Dakota. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 281 p. Dissertation. [40326]
  • 85. Houston, Kent E.; Hartung, Walter J.; Hartung, Carol J. 2001. A field guide for forest indicator plants, sensitive plants, and noxious weeds of the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-84. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 184 p. [40585]
  • 89. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 90. Johnson, Kendall L. 1979. Basic synecological relationships of the sagebrush types on the high plains of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources: 42-49. [1281]
  • 91. Johnson, Kendall L. 1987. Sagebrush types as ecological indicators to integrated pest management (IPM) in the sagebrush ecosystem of western North America. In: Onsager, Jerome A., ed. Integrated pest management on rangeland: State-of-the-art in the sagebrush ecosystem. ARS-50. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: 1-10. [2841]
  • 92. 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]

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Description

Shrubs, 50–150 cm (trunks definite, freely branched from bases, branches erect), pleasantly aromatic; root-sprouting. Stems light brown to gray-green (woody, somewhat pliable, leafy), persistently canescent to glabrescent. Leaves deciduous, whitish gray or green to dark gray-green; blades narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, 1.5–8 × 0.2–1 cm, usually entire, sometimes irregularly lobed, sparsely to densely hairy. Heads in (congested, leafy) paniculiform arrays 10–20 × 0.2–7 cm. Involucres (subtended by green, leaflike bracts) narrowly to broadly campanulate, 3–4 × 2–5 mm. Phyllaries ovate or lanceolate (scarious margins nearly invisible), densely canescent. Florets 4–20; corollas 2–3 mm, resinous (style branches ellipsoid, to 2.3 mm, exsert, gland-dotted). Cypselae (light brown) 1–2.3 mm, resinous.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Seriphidium canum (Pursh) W. A. Weber
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Ecology

Habitat

Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, codominant, cover, forb, forbs, graminoid, mesic, sere, shrub

Composition of silver sagebrush communities is variable across the species' broad
geographical range. The communities are often compositionally and
structurally simple, but are sometimes diverse, especially in riparian zones [67,78,127,177,198].
Brief descriptions of common codominants and associates are presented below by
subspecies. More detailed descriptions of silver sagebrush-dominated plant
communities are available in the publications listed at the end of this section.

Bolander silver sagebrush: There are few descriptions of Bolander silver sagebrush
communities in the literature. Bolander silver sagebrush types on the Toiyabe
National Forest of west-central Nevada and  east-central California are codominated by Douglas' sedge (Carex douglasii) and/or
Baltic rush (Juncus balticus) [110]. Descriptions of Bolander silver
sagebrush communities in California are
particularly sparse, although a community codominated by mat muhly (Muhlenbergia richardsonis)
has been documented in Lassen County [202]. In nearby Plumas County,
Bolander silver sagebrush co-occurs with mountain big sagebrush, Nebraska sedge
(Carex nebrascensis), and tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa) [32]. In central Oregon, Bolander silver sagebrush/mat muhly communities occur
on seasonal ponds, expanding and contracting as climate drives water levels. Big
sagebrush,
Sierra lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. murrayana), and quaking aspen
(Populus tremuloides) border and may invade the community [40]. In
meadows of the Ochoco and Blue mountains, Bolander silver sagebrush often
codominates with big sagebrush. Cusick's bluegrass usually dominates
the understory; western yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a constant associate [98]. Bolander
silver sagebrush is classified as a major indicator shrub for riparian zones in
central Oregon [100].
Plains silver sagebrush: Species diversity tends to be low in plains silver sagebrush communities [78,127,177].
There are few other shrub species; the communities are mostly composed of silver
sagebrush, bunchgrasses, and other graminoid associates. Forbs are typically infrequent
[78,177] but occasionally important. Nelson [127] reported 20% forb cover in a
plains silver sagebrush community in the Badlands of North Dakota.
In Saskatchewan, plains silver sagebrush dominates sandhill prairies, and is
common in the blue grama-green needlegrass (Bouteloua gracilis-Nassella viridula)
association [88]. Plains silver sagebrush dominates mesic mountain

steppes in the northwestern portion of its range, often mixed with Wyoming big
sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis). It merges with and associates in western wheatgrass-Idaho
fescue
(Pascopyrum smithii-Festuca idahoensis) and bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata)-Idaho fescue mountain grasslands [71] and
in black
greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) communities [3]. Plains silver
sagebrush-dominated communities are often
upslope from black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa)
floodplains throughout the subspecies' distribution [80], and may
codominate with willow (Salix) species on meandering drainages [158]. Plains silver
sagebrush sometimes dominates understories of open narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus
angustifolia) stands [31]. In the
shortgrass prairie, plains silver sagebrush communities occur on or upslope from
floodplains. Western wheatgrass is the most common codominant; other frequently
codominating or associated grasses include green needlegrass,
prairie sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia), and blue grama [21,31,64,127,139,177].
Nelson [127] found blue grama codominated upland sites in the Badlands of North
Dakota, while a plains silver sagebrush-western snowberry (Symphoricarpos
occidentalis)/western wheatgrass formation
occurred on bottomlands. Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus) and cheatgrass (B. tectorum)
are fairly constant invaders in plains silver sagebrush communities [177].
Thatcher [176] reported that plains silver sagebrush in eastern Wyoming was the
only woody sagebrush species growing in association with basin wildrye.
Mountain silver sagebrush typically occurs in steppe vegetation. Species diversity and community production can be great in mountain silver sagebrush communities,
which often border riparian zones and moist mountain meadows. The most common understory dominants in mountain silver sagebrush communities
of Wyoming and Montana are tufted hairgrass and Idaho fescue [198].
In the Gros Ventre area of Wyoming, high-elevation (> 7,000 ft. (2,000 m))
mountain silver sagebrush/Idaho fescue communities occur on moraines and
landslides [20]. Lower-elevation mountain silver sagebrush
communities of Wyoming may be dominated by bluegrasses (Poa spp.) and bromes
(Bromus spp.) [143]. Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora floribunda) is
a common associate in mountain silver sagebrush communities, and usually the only other
shrub present [20,143]. Shrubby cinquefoil is the only constant shrub
associate in mountain silver sagebrush/Thurber fescue (F. thurberi)
steppes of Colorado [176,178] and in mountain silver
sagebrush/Idaho fescue steppes of central and eastern Idaho [155]. Mountain silver sagebrush is locally dominant on mountain grassland clay soils
of central Idaho, where it forms the "Camas Prairie" association with
common camas (Camassia quamash) [149]. Mountain silver sagebrush steppes in northern Utah
and southern Idaho are codominated by tufted hairgrass, sheep fescue (F. ovina), and Kentucky
bluegrass (P. pratensis). Mountain silver sagebrush/Kentucky bluegrass is probably a sere induced by heavy grazing [77,131].
Mountain silver sagebrush communities of Utah merge into open quaking
aspen-Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) parklands,
where mountain silver sagebrush becomes an understory component
[166]. In eastern Oregon, Douglas' sedge and
Cusick's bluegrass dominate mountain silver sagebrush understories. The
mountain silver sagebrush community merges into upland mountain big sagebrush and streamside Kentucky bluegrass or sedge (Carex
spp.) communities [132]. In Nevada,
mountain silver sagebrush steppes are codominated by slender wheatgrass
(Elymus trachycaulus), Idaho fescue, beardless wildrye (Leymus triticoides),
sedges, and Baltic rush [109,110].
Vegetation classifications describing silver sagebrush-dominated communities
are listed below:
Silver sagebrush (covering both plains and mountain subspecies):

ID: [61]

MT: [66,150]
Bolander silver sagebrush:

CA: [110,202]

NV: [110]

OR: [98,99,170]
Plains silver sagebrush:

AB: [35]

MT: [62,125]

ND: [62,64,69,78,127]

SD: [64]

WY: [31,65,177]
Mountain silver sagebrush:

CO: [54,175,178]

ID: [77,155,203]

MT: [66]

NV: [109,110]

OR: [132]

UT: [131,142,203]

WY: [20,24,31,143,203]

  • 100. Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Hopkins, William E.; Brunsfeld, Steven J. 1988. Major indicator shrubs and herbs in riparian zones on national forests of central Oregon. R6-ECOL-TP-005-88. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 159 p. [8995]
  • 109. Manning, Mary E.; Padgett, Wayne G. 1989. Preliminary riparian community type classification for Nevada. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 135 p. Preliminary draft. [11531]
  • 110. Manning, Mary E.; Padgett, Wayne G. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe National Forests, Nevada and eastern California. R4-Ecol-95-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 p. [42196]
  • 125. Montana State University, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. 1973. Vegetative rangeland types in Montana. Bulletin 671. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. 15 p. [29827]
  • 127. Nelson, Jack Raymond. 1961. Composition and structure of the principal woody vegetation types in the North Dakota Badlands. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 195 p. Thesis. [161]
  • 131. Padgett, Wayne G.; Youngblood, Andrew P.; Winward, Alma H. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. R4-Ecol-89-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 191 p. [11360]
  • 132. Padgett, Wayne George. 1981. Ecology of riparian plant communities in southern Malheur National Forest. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 143 p. Thesis. [14933]
  • 139. Ralston, Robert Dean. 1960. The structure and ecology of the north slope juniper stands of the Little Missouri Badlands. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah. 85 p. Thesis. [192]
  • 142. Ream, Robert Ray. 1964. The vegetation of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah and Idaho. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 178 p. Dissertation. [5506]
  • 143. Reed, John F. 1952. The vegetation of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, Wyoming. The American Midland Naturalist. 48(3): 700-729. [1949]
  • 149. Rosentreter, Roger. 1992. Camas prairie and possible evolutionary links with old world Artemisia species: a presymposium tour. 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: 223-227. [19126]
  • 150. Ross, Robert L.; Hunter, Harold E. 1976. Climax vegetation of Montana: Based on soils and climate. Bozeman, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 64 p. [2028]
  • 155. 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]
  • 158. Severson, Kieth E.; Boldt, Charles E. 1977. Problems associated with management of native woody plants in the western Dakotas. In: Johnson, Kendall L., editor. Wyoming shrublands: Proceedings, 6th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1977 May 24-25; Buffalo, WY. Laramie, WY: Shrub Ecology Workshop: 51-57. [2759]
  • 166. Smith, Justin G. 1952. Food habits of mule deer in Utah. Journal of Wildlife Management. 16(2): 148-154. [2174]
  • 170. Stoms, David M.; Davis, Frank W.; Driese, Kenneth L.; [and others]. 1998. Gap analysis of the vegetation of the Intermountain semi-desert ecoregion. The Great Basin Naturalist. 58(3): 199-216. [30151]
  • 175. 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]
  • 176. Thatcher, Albert P. 1959. Distribution of sagebrush as related to site differences in Albany County, Wyoming. Journal of Range Management. 12(2): 55-61. [2314]
  • 177. Thilenius, John F.; Brown, Gary R.; Medina, Alvin L. 1995. Vegetation on semi-arid rangelands, Cheyenne River Basin, Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-263. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 60 p. [26478]
  • 178. 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]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 20. Bramble-Brodahl, Mary K. 1978. Classification of Artemisia vegetation in the Gros Ventre area, Wyoming. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 126 p. Thesis. [506]
  • 202. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A.; Major, Jack. 1977. Sagebrush steppe. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 763-796. [4300]
  • 203. Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p. [2686]
  • 21. Brand, Michael D. 1980. Secondary succession in the mixed grass prairie of southwestern North Dakota. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 77 p. Dissertation. [14147]
  • 24. Brichta, Paul Harold. 1986. Environmental relationships among wetland community types of the northern range, Yellowstone National Park. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 74 p. Thesis. [6727]
  • 3. Allen, Eugene O. 1968. Range use, foods, condition, and productivity of white-tailed deer in Montana. Journal of Wildlife Management. 32(1): 130-141. [16331]
  • 31. Collins, Ellen I. 1984. Preliminary classification of Wyoming plant communities. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Natural Heritage Program/The Nature Conservancy. 42 p. [661]
  • 32. Conroy, Scott D.; Svejcar, Tony J. 1991. Willow planting success as influenced by site factors and cattle grazing in northeastern California. Journal of Range Management. 44(1): 59-63. [14929]
  • 35. Coupland, Robert T. 1950. Ecology of mixed prairie in Canada. Ecological Monographs. 20(4): 271-315. [700]
  • 40. Dealy, J. Edward. 1971. Habitat characteristics of the Silver Lake mule deer range. Res. Pap. PNW-125. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 99 p. [782]
  • 54. Francis, Richard E. 1983. Sagebrush-steppe habitat types in northern Colorado: a first approximation. In: Moir, W. H.; Hendzel, Leonard, tech. coords. Proceedings of the workshop on Southwestern habitat types; 1983 April 6-8; Albuquerque, NM. Abluquerque, NM: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southwestern Region: 67-71. [955]
  • 61. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 62. Hansen, Paul L.; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert D.; [and others]. 1994. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in Montana. In: Hamre, R. H., ed. Workshop on western wetlands and riparian areas: public/private efforts in recovery, management, and education: Proceedings; 1993 September 9-11; Snowbird, UT. Boulder, CO: Thorne Ecological Institute: 1-17. [27800]
  • 64. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]
  • 65. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1984. The vegetation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-113. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p. [1077]
  • 66. Hansen, Paul L.; Pfister, Robert D.; Boggs, Keith; [and others]. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Missoula, MT: The University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 646 p. [24768]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 279 p. [12477]
  • 69. Hanson, Herbert C.; Whitman, Warren. 1938. Characteristics of major grassland types in western North Dakota. Ecological Monographs. 8(2): 57-114. [15]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 77. 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]
  • 78. Hirsch, Kathie Jean. 1985. Habitat classification of grasslands and shrublands of southwestern North Dakota. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 281 p. Dissertation. [40326]
  • 80. Hopkins, Rick B. 1984. Avian species associated with prairie woodland types. In: Noble, Daniel L.; Winokur, Robert P., eds. Wooded draws: characteristics and values for the northern Great Plains: Proceedings of a symposium; 1984 June 12-13; Rapid City, SD. Great Plains Agricultural Council Publication No. 111. Rapid City, SD: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Biology Department: 27-35. [1192]
  • 88. Jakubos, Bonnie; Romme, William H. 1993. Invasion of subalpine meadows by lodgepole pine in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research. 25(4): 382-390. [22582]
  • 98. Kovalchik, Bernard L. 1987. Riparian zone associations: Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema National Forests. R6 ECOL TP-279-87. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 171 p. [9632]
  • 99. Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Chitwood, Lawrence A. 1990. Use of geomorphology in the classification of riparian plant associations in mountainous landscapes of central Oregon, U.S.A. Forest Ecology and Management. 33/34: 405-418. [6830]

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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

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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 term: cover

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [162]:

101 Bluebunch wheatgrass

102 Idaho fescue

103 Green fescue

107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass

216 Montane meadows

301 Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama

302 Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass

303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass

304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass

305 Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass

306 Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass

307 Idaho fescue-threadleaf sedge

308 Idaho fescue-tufted hairgrass

309 Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass

310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama

311 Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass

312 Rough fescue-Idaho fescue

313 Tufted hairgrass-sedge

314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue

316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue

320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass

321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue

323 Shrubby cinquefoil-rough fescue

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

409 Tall forb

411 Aspen woodland

413 Gambel oak

422 Riparian

501 Saltbush-greasewood

604 Bluestem-grama prairie

605 Sandsage prairie

606 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

607 Wheatgrass-needlegrass

608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass

609 Wheatgrass-grama

610 Wheatgrass

611 Blue grama-buffalo grass

612 Sagebrush-grass

613 Fescue grassland

614 Crested wheatgrass

615 Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama

704 Blue grama-western wheatgrass
  • 162. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. [23362]

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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 [50]:

16 Aspen

63 Cottonwood

217 Aspen

220 Rocky Mountain juniper

222 Black cottonwood-willow

229 Pacific Douglas-fir

235 Cottonwood-willow

237 Interior ponderosa pine

238 Western juniper
  • 50. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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

KUCHLER [101] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:

K011 Western ponderosa forest

K012 Douglas-fir forest

K016 Eastern ponderosa forest

K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub

K038 Great Basin sagebrush

K040 Saltbush-greasewood

K050 Fescue-wheatgrass

K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K055 Sagebrush steppe

K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe

K063 Foothills prairie

K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065 Grama-buffalo grass

K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass

K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

K068 Wheatgrass-grama-buffalo grass

K069 Bluestem-grama prairie
  • 101. 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]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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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 [55]:

FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood

FRES20 Douglas-fir

FRES21 Ponderosa pine

FRES29 Sagebrush

FRES30 Desert shrub

FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES36 Mountain grasslands

FRES37 Mountain meadows

FRES38 Plains grasslands
  • 55. 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]

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Habitat characteristics

Silver sagebrush requires more moisture than most sagebrush species, growing in areas that receive > 10 inches (250 mm) mean annual precipitation and have a water table within 3 feet (1 m) of the soil surface [157,176]. For example, a Bolander silver sagebrush/Sandberg bluegrass community in Plumas County, California, occurred on streamside soils with a mean July moisture content of 36% and a mean water table depth of 47.6 inches (121 cm) [173]. Because it requires moist soils, silver sagebrush typically grows on the edges of streambanks and drainages and on floodplains, bottomlands, and moist meadows [57,157,190,190].

Soils: Silver sagebrush occupies moister, colder soils than any other woody sagebrush species in North America [193]. Soil drainage is often slow. Silver sagebrush communities are also common on transitional wet-to-dryland sites [63,109] where soils dry by late summer. A mountain silver sagebrush/tufted hairgrass community in Yellowstone National Park was described as "the driest wetland community type" within the Park [24]. Phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, organic matter, and cation exchange capacity are often lower in silver sagebrush soils than in soils of surrounding communities. Silver sagebrush cannot tolerate strongly saline or calcareous soils [73,157,185]. Soil pH ranges from slightly acidic to strongly alkaline (6.0-8.5) [24,63,66,176]. Parent materials of soils supporting silver sagebrush include sandstones, shales, and granites [130]; soil textures include clay, silt, loam, sand, and gravel [71,85,187]. Silver sagebrush in Wyoming occurred on shallow to deep soil profiles, being most common (9/14 sites) in deep soils (depths of > 3 feet (1 m)) [176]. Best growth occurs on well-drained, coarse-textured, alluvial soils that are moist in the upper 6 inches (20 cm) of the soil profile [63,185].

Elevation: Silver sagebrush's overall elevational range is from 5,000 to nearly 11,000 feet (2,000-3,000 m) elevation [17,157,198].

Subspecies:
Bolander silver sagebrush is most common on pluvial lakebeds, internally drained basins with alkaline soils, and in snow catchments with granitic soils [71,91,113,163,203]. It also grows on meadows, streambanks, and moist, gravelly soils [17,75,98]. It is the only sagebrush in North America that can tolerate temporary inundation [182]. Bolander silver sagebrush occurs from 4,400 to 11,000 feet (1,300-3,400 m) elevation [17,75,98]. In the Ochoco Mountains, it occurs on the margins of mid-elevation meadows (4,400-5,600 ft. (1,300-1,700 m)) and on lower-elevation, inactive floodplains [98]. It occurs from 5,000 to 9,600 feet (1,500-2,900 m) elevation in Nevada [93].

Plains silver sagebrush occurs on low hillsides, riparian zones, and in valleys. Ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 feet (1,000-2,000 m) elevation, it is most common below 5,000 feet (1,550 m) on moist, sandy soil bordering prairie creeks, ephemeral water courses, and the bottoms of eroded hills [14,71,90,117,168]. Topography is usually flat to gently sloping [127]. Scattered plants may occur on upland sites [14].

Mountain silver sagebrush is most common on mountain meadows, stream terraces, basins, and areas of heavy winter snowpack throughout its distribution. It is occasionally found on moist upland slopes [12,85,113,191].  In the Southwest it is most common in the mountains but also occurs on plains and in valleys [111]. Mountain silver sagebrush is common on limestone-derived soils [163]. It occurs from 6,000 to 10,000 feet (2,100-3,050 m) elevation across its range [17,71,191]. Ranges for mountain silver sagebrush by state are:

State Elevation
AZ, NM 5,000-9,000 feet (1,500-2,700 m) [111]
ID 6,000-8,000 feet (1,800-2,400 m) [155]
MT 1,860-5,994 feet (567-1,827 m) [65,66]
NV 5,000-9,600 feet (1,500-2,900 m) [93]
WY 1,000-10,000 feet (1,800-3,000 m)  [20,85,130]
  • 109. Manning, Mary E.; Padgett, Wayne G. 1989. Preliminary riparian community type classification for Nevada. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 135 p. Preliminary draft. [11531]
  • 111. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 113. McArthur, E. Durant. 2000. Sagebrush systematics and distribution. In: Entwistle, P. G.; DeBolt, A. M.; Kaltenecker, J. H.; Steenhof, K., compilers. In: Sagebrush steppe ecosystems symposium: Proceedings; 1999 June 21-23; Boise, ID. Publ. No. BLM/ID/PT-001001+1150. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Boise State Office: 9-14. [41811]
  • 117. McArthur, E. Durant; Sanderson, Stewart C. 1999. Cytogeography and chromosome evolution of subgenus Tridentatae of Artemisia (Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany. 86(12): 1754-1775. [34931]
  • 12. 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]
  • 127. Nelson, Jack Raymond. 1961. Composition and structure of the principal woody vegetation types in the North Dakota Badlands. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 195 p. Thesis. [161]
  • 130. Olson, R. A.; Gerhart, W. A. 1982. A physical and biological characterization of riparian habitat and its importance to wildlife in Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 188 p. [6755]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 155. 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]
  • 157. Schultz, Brad; McAdoo, Kent. 2002. Common sagebrush in Nevada. Special Publication SP-02-02. Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 9 p. Available: http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/Spec%20Pubs/SP-02-02.doc [2002, October 1]. [42043]
  • 163. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Comparative leaf anatomy of sagebrush: ecological considerations. 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: 253-264. [2140]
  • 168. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 17. 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]
  • 173. Svejcar, Tony J.; Riegel, Gregg M.; Conroy, Scott D.; Trent, James D. 1992. Establishment and growth potential of riparian shrubs in the northern Sierra Nevada. 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: 151-154. [19110]
  • 176. Thatcher, Albert P. 1959. Distribution of sagebrush as related to site differences in Albany County, Wyoming. Journal of Range Management. 12(2): 55-61. [2314]
  • 182. Valles, Joan; McArthur, E. Durant. 2001. Artemisia systematics and phylogeny: cytogenetic and molecular insights. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Fairbanks, Daniel J., compilers. Shrubland ecosystem genetics and biodiversity: proceedings; 2000 June 13-15; Provo, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-21. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 67-74. [41956]
  • 185. Walton, Todd P.; White, Richard S.; Wambolt, Carl L. 1986. Artemisia reproductive strategies: a review with emphasis on plains silver sagebrush. 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: 67-74. [2447]
  • 187. Wambolt, Carl L.; Walton, Todd; White, Richard S. 1989. Seed dispersal characteristics of plains silver sagebrush. Prairie Naturalist. 21(3): 113-118. [15530]
  • 190. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 191. 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]
  • 193. West, Neil E. 1988. Intermountain deserts, shrub steppes, and woodlands. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 209-230. [19546]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 20. Bramble-Brodahl, Mary K. 1978. Classification of Artemisia vegetation in the Gros Ventre area, Wyoming. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 126 p. Thesis. [506]
  • 203. Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985. Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p. [2686]
  • 24. Brichta, Paul Harold. 1986. Environmental relationships among wetland community types of the northern range, Yellowstone National Park. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 74 p. Thesis. [6727]
  • 57. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 63. Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 411 p. [5660]
  • 65. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1984. The vegetation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-113. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p. [1077]
  • 66. Hansen, Paul L.; Pfister, Robert D.; Boggs, Keith; [and others]. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Missoula, MT: The University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 646 p. [24768]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 73. Hazlett, Donald L.; Hoffman, George R. 1975. Plant species distributional patterns in Artemisia tridentata- and Artemisia cana-dominated vegetation in western North Dakota. Botanical Gazette. 136(1): 72-77. [1111]
  • 75. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 85. Houston, Kent E.; Hartung, Walter J.; Hartung, Carol J. 2001. A field guide for forest indicator plants, sensitive plants, and noxious weeds of the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-84. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 184 p. [40585]
  • 90. Johnson, Kendall L. 1979. Basic synecological relationships of the sagebrush types on the high plains of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources: 42-49. [1281]
  • 91. Johnson, Kendall L. 1987. Sagebrush types as ecological indicators to integrated pest management (IPM) in the sagebrush ecosystem of western North America. In: Onsager, Jerome A., ed. Integrated pest management on rangeland: State-of-the-art in the sagebrush ecosystem. ARS-50. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: 1-10. [2841]
  • 93. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 3 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 98. Kovalchik, Bernard L. 1987. Riparian zone associations: Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema National Forests. R6 ECOL TP-279-87. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 171 p. [9632]

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: density, fire regime, natural, prescribed fire

Beetle and Johnson [14] recommend prescribed fire to increase silver sagebrush density on rangelands. Blaisdell and others [17] provide general guidelines for burning in sagebrush-grasslands.

A variety of fire treatments may be needed to mimic historic FIRE REGIMES. Because the fire regime of the northern Great Plains was highly variable, Sieg [165] recommends varying fire intensities and seasons, including use of mid-summer fire, to restore natural disturbance patterns. Howe [87] stated "the strategy should avoid a uniformity of timing of burns or in intervals between burns that artificially simplifies what was probably a more complex system."
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 165. Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 1997. The role of fire in managing for biological diversity on native rangelands of the Northern Great Plains. In: Uresk, Daniel W.; Schenbeck, Greg L.; O'Rourke, James T., tech. coords. Conserving biodiversity on native rangelands: symposium proceedings; 1995 August 17; Fort Robinson State Park, NE. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-298. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 31-38. [28054]
  • 17. 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]
  • 87. Howe, Henry F. 1994. Managing species diversity in tallgrass prairie: assumptions and implications. Conservation Biology. 8(3): 691-704. [26692]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, shrub, wildfire

A late summer wildfire promoted plains silver sagebrush on an Alberta western
wheatgrass-blue grama prairie. The grassland, used as a cattle range, was in
excellent condition prior to the wildfire. Three successive years of drought
followed the wildfire, and cattle were allowed free access to burned and
unburned portions of the range. Stocking rate was
0.64 AUM/ha. Plains silver
sagebrush was the most common shrub in the postfire plant community, and its
biomass was greater on burned than on unburned plots on both upland and
bottomland sites [48].

Fire also favored silver sagebrush on the Grand Mesa National Forest,
Colorado. A Gambel oak/common snowberry-Saskatoon serviceberry community (Quercus
gambelii/Symphoricarpos albus-Amelanchier alnifolia) was
prescribed burned, sprayed, and/or chained to reduce density and height of big game and cattle
browse. Production of silver sagebrush (kg/ha) before
and after treatments is given below [102].
1 yr before2 yrs after5 yrs after10 yrs after
burning10.6711.8020.2717.33
sprayingdata not given------------
chaining8.402.934.402.20
burning, spraying, and chaining1.200.530.602.00
  • 102. Kufeld, Roland C. 1983. Responses of elk, mule deer, cattle, and vegetation to burning, spraying and chaining of Gambel oak rangeland. Tech. Publ. 34. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Division of Wildlife. 47 p. [253]
  • 48. Erichsen-Arychuk, Catherine; Bork, Edward W.; Bailey, Arthur W. 2002. Northern dry mixed prairie responses to summer wildfire and drought. Journal of Range Management. 55(2): 164-170. [40694]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, fuel, rhizome, top-kill, tree, wildfire

Silver sagebrush has the strongest sprouting response of any woody sagebrush species in North America [25,199]. It sprouts from the root crown [134], rhizomes [12,14,17,114,187], and roots [12,14,17,114] after top-kill by fire [25,198,200]. Because of its strong postfire sprouting response, fire on a 5 to 20-year rotation promotes silver sagebrush [17,187]. It can return to or exceed canopy coverage in 4 to 6 postfire years [198]. For example, fall prescribed burning of a Bolander silver sagebrush/Baltic rush wet meadow in Inyo National Forest, California, produced no significant change in postfire silver sagebrush cover (measured for 4 postfire years) compared to prefire cover [70]. Dry weather and fuel conditions before fire can reduce the number of sprouts silver sagebrush produces after fire [195]. Very frequent fire tends to favor associated bunchgrasses over silver sagebrush [98].

Silver sagebrush requires an open, disturbed seedbed [71,147], and fire may prepare a favorable site for seedling establishment. In eastern Montana, plains silver sagebrush seedling establishment has been documented on sites disturbed by fire or ice scouring. Rhizome sprouting was more common, however (approximately 1 seedling per 3 sprouts) [187]. In a rehabilitation study using artificial regeneration, mixed sagebrush steppe in Wyoming was treated to control invading Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). Control methods included herbicide (picloram) application, bulldozing, tree harvest, and a fortuitous wildfire. After the treatments and the wildfire, native species including silver, big, and black (Artemisia nova) sagebrush were seeded in, with time of seeding (spring vs. fall) and seeding method (furrow vs. broadcast seeding) evaluated. All sagebrush species established best on burned plots compared to unburned plots; fall planting and broadcasting also favored the sagebrushes compared to spring seeding and furrowing [53].

Hybrids: Silver sagebrush hybrids may inherit the ability to sprout after fire and other top-killing events. Silver sagebrush × mountain big sagebrush and silver sagebrush × threetip sagebrush hybrids both sprout after fire [97,112]. Inadequately studied, postfire sprouting response of silver × threetip sagebrush hybrids is probably strong because each parent has genetic ability to sprout. Silver and threetip sagebrushes were once assumed to be closely related due to common sprouting ability [12,164]; however, DNA-based phylogenetic studies show a close genetic relationship among black sagebrush, low sagebrush, and silver sagebrush infrataxa (the silver sagebrush lineage)  [96,97,120], and a more distant genetic relationship between the silver sagebrush lineage and the big sagebrush lineage (which includes threetip sagebrush and big sagebrush infrataxa) [96,97]. Studies on the sprouting ability of silver, black, and low sagebrush combinations are lacking, but such studies might provide insight into the genetic basis for sprouting in woody sagebrushes and ultimately, produce woody sagebrush plants that can survive on sites where exotic annual grasses have altered FIRE REGIMES. Sprouting, drought-tolerant sagebrush hybrids may be useful in rehabilitating sagebrush rangelands that have converted to annual grasslands dominated by cheatgrass or medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) after repeated, short-interval fires. Big and threetip sagebrush seedlings are more drought tolerant than silver sagebrush seedlings. Crosses among silver, big, and threetip sagebrush may produce sprouting plants that can survive on dry sites prone to reburns [112]. McArthur and others [115] have produced a plains silver sagebrush × Wyoming big sagebrush hybrid with apparently fertile seed.

  • 112. McArthur, E. Durant. 1994. Ecology, distribution, and values of sagebrush within the Intermountain Region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 347-351. [24308]
  • 114. 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]
  • 115. McArthur, E. Durant; Mudge, Joann; Van Buren, Renee; [and others]. 1998. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis (RAPD) of Artemisia subgenus Tridentatae species and hybrids. The Great Basin Naturalist. 58(1): 12-27. [28609]
  • 12. 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]
  • 120. McArthur, E. Durant; Van Buren, Renee; Sanderson, Stewart C.; Harper, Kimball T. 1998. Taxonomy of Sphaeromoeria, Artemisia, and Tanacetum (Compositae, Anthemideae) based on randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). The Great Basin Naturalist. 58(1): 1-11. [28610]
  • 134. Pechanec, Joseph F.; Plummer, A. Perry; Robertson, Joseph H.; Hull, A. C., Jr. 1965. Sagebrush control on rangelands. Agriculture Handbook No. 277. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 40 p. [1858]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 147. Romo, J. T.; Grilz, R. W. 2002. Establishment of silver sagebrush in the Northern Mixed Prairie. Journal of Range Management. 55(3): 217-221. [41755]
  • 164. 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]
  • 17. 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]
  • 187. Wambolt, Carl L.; Walton, Todd; White, Richard S. 1989. Seed dispersal characteristics of plains silver sagebrush. Prairie Naturalist. 21(3): 113-118. [15530]
  • 195. White, Richard S.; Currie, Pat O. 1983. The effects of prescribed burning on silver sagebrush. Journal of Range Management. 36(5): 611-613. [2540]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 199. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. [2620]
  • 200. 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]
  • 25. Britton, Carlton M. 1979. Fire on the range. Western Wildlands. 5(4): 32-33. [514]
  • 53. Fisser, Herbert G. 1981. Shrub establishment, dominance, and ecology on the juniper and sagebrush-grass types in Wyoming. In: Shrub establishment on disturbed arid and semi-arid lands: Proceedings of the symposium; 1980 December 2-3; Laramie, WY. Laramie, WY: Wyoming Game and Fish Department: 23-28. [926]
  • 70. Hargis, Christina; McCarthy, Clinton. 1986. Vegetation changes following a prescribed burn on a Great Basin meadow. Transactions, Western Section of the Wildlife Society. 22: 47-51. [15955]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 96. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1998. Phylogenetic analysis of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on sequences from the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA. American Journal of Botany. 85(2): 1787-1795. [42433]
  • 97. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1999. Molecular phylogeny of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on chloroplast DNA restriction site variation. Systematic Botany. 24(1): 69-84. [42432]
  • 98. Kovalchik, Bernard L. 1987. Riparian zone associations: Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema National Forests. R6 ECOL TP-279-87. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 171 p. [9632]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

More info for the terms: association, ground fire

Fall burning under dry conditions may result in greater mortality compared to spring burning due to internal water stress of silver sagebrush plants [119,195]. Fire Case Studies summarizes a study on seasonal differences in fire effects on silver sagebrush.

Ground fires are rarely reported in silver sagebrush steppes; however, in Saskatchewan, Rowe [151] noted a September, lightning-ignited ground fire in a silver sagebrush/green needlegrass-blue grama-western wheatgrass association. In some spots, the fire burned into the taproots of silver sagebrush plants and killed them.

  • 119. 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]
  • 151. Rowe, J. S. 1969. Lightning fires in Saskatchewan grassland. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 83: 317-324. [6266]
  • 195. White, Richard S.; Currie, Pat O. 1983. The effects of prescribed burning on silver sagebrush. Journal of Range Management. 36(5): 611-613. [2540]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: fuel, litter, surface fire, top-kill

Surface fire top-kills silver sagebrush [14,134,195]. Because perennating buds on rhizomes and roots are protected by soil, silver sagebrush ordinarily survives even severe surface fire [98]. Fuel loads in most silver sagebrush communities are usually sufficient to ensure a high rate of top-kill. The foliage is moderately flammable, and silver sagebrush litter is highly flammable when dry [124]. Fires usually spread in silver sagebrush communities during dry seasons [25,26,124,200].
  • 124. Monsen, Stephen B. 1994. Selection of plants for fire suppression on semiarid sites. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 363-373. [24310]
  • 134. Pechanec, Joseph F.; Plummer, A. Perry; Robertson, Joseph H.; Hull, A. C., Jr. 1965. Sagebrush control on rangelands. Agriculture Handbook No. 277. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 40 p. [1858]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 195. White, Richard S.; Currie, Pat O. 1983. The effects of prescribed burning on silver sagebrush. Journal of Range Management. 36(5): 611-613. [2540]
  • 200. 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]
  • 25. Britton, Carlton M. 1979. Fire on the range. Western Wildlands. 5(4): 32-33. [514]
  • 26. 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]
  • 98. Kovalchik, Bernard L. 1987. Riparian zone associations: Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema National Forests. R6 ECOL TP-279-87. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 171 p. [9632]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: adventitious, geophyte, initial off-site colonizer, rhizome, secondary colonizer, shrub

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [169]:
Small shrub, adventitious bud/root crown
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Geophyte, growing points deep in soil
Initial off-site colonizer (off-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)
  • 169. 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]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire regime, fuel, litter, natural, relict, top-kill, tree

Fire adaptations: Silver sagebrush has a strong sprouting response after top-kill by fire [25,38,199,200]. Because it possesses several organs capable of regeneration, including roots and rhizomes that are protected by soil, it is not as susceptible to fire mortality as most woody sagebrush species [13,119,186,187].

Although sprouting is silver sagebrush's primary method of postfire regeneration, some seedling establishment can occur if early postfire years are favorably wet during the growing season [187]. Time required for postfire sprouts to begin seed production is undocumented, but given silver sagebrush's rapid rate of sprout growth [152], sprouting stems probably fruit and seed within 2 or 3 postfire years. Seeds produced from postfire sprouts are the most likely sources of seedling establishment, but wind, water, and animal transport of seed onto burns may also contribute to postfire seedling establishment [12,49,71,159,187].

Fuels: Occupying bottomlands and other areas that are wetter than surrounding vegetation, silver sagebrush communities often have heavier litter and vertical fuel loads than surrounding plant communities [132,177,186]. Fires tend to carry into and spread in silver sagebrush unless the community has been overgrazed [17,186]. Heavy litter build-up tends to decrease rhizomatous sprouting in silver sagebrush colonies, while removal of the litter by fire or other means encourages silver sagebrush sprouting and colonial expansion [185,187].

FIRE REGIMES: Silver sagebrush steppes experience stand-replacement fires [14,134,195]. Fire frequencies are uncertain: fire histories for silver sagebrush communities are sparse to altogether lacking. Since plant productivity and community structure vary across the species' wide geographical distribution [65,69,78,132,186], historic fire intervals were probably similarly varied.

Bolander silver sagebrush: As of this writing (2002), there are no published fire history studies on Bolander silver sagebrush communities. Bolander silver sagebrush grows on sites with widely varying characteristics, including fuel loads. Fire was probably rare in Bolander silver sagebrush communities on alkali sinks in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada, and frequent on Bolander silver sagebrush meadows of the Ochoco and Blue mountains. Since even plant community composition, structure, and production are poorly described in the literature, a great deal of research is needed to understand fire effects and historic FIRE REGIMES for Bolander silver sagebrush communities. Fire and rangeland managers with experience in this type are encouraged to share their findings with Fire Effects Information System staff.

Plains silver sagebrush: Fire history studies of plains silver sagebrush-grama-needlegrass steppes of the northern Great Plains are based on historic records and tree fire scars obtained from adjacent, coniferous communities and a few lone, on-site conifers. These studies suggest that stand-replacement fires occurred frequently in plains silver sagebrush steppes. Wright and Bailey [199] estimated fire frequencies of 5 to 10 years on rolling-to-level topography, where plains silver sagebrush mostly occurs as widely scattered plants in a landscape dominated by mixed grasses [71]. On topography dissected with breaks and rivers, where silver sagebrush is most common, they estimated fire return intervals of 20 to 30 years. Other researchers report similar fire return intervals for plains grassland steppes [27,52,192]. For example, fire return intervals range from 16 to 47+ years in relict western wheatgrass-green needlegrass-plains silver sagebrush communities of western North Dakota [137].

Most plains grassland fires historically occurred in summer or fall, with lightning and human ignition sources. Lightning-caused ignitions were most common in July and August. Sieg [165] suggests that for the northern Great Plains, the natural fire regime of low draws that were vegetated with sprouting species such as silver sagebrush was mostly late-growing-season fire, ignited after fine fuels had cured and dried. Late-season fires were probably "intense," but because natural fires also occurred in other seasons, the overall fire regime was highly variable.  Native Americans traditionally set fires throughout the year, although April, September, and October were their peak ignition times [76].

Mountain silver sagebrush: The cool, moist montane sites supporting mountain silver sagebrush can be highly productive, with graminoids providing ample flashy fuels to carry fire [197]. Fire ecologists estimate frequent stand-replacement fires in this type, with mean fire return intervals ranging from 3 to 45+ years [5,6,74]. Houston [84] estimated on Snake River Plains of Idaho, fires probably cycled about every 25 years in the wetter areas favored by mountain silver sagebrush.

The following table provides some fire regime intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where silver sagebrush is a dominant or important component of the vegetation. For further information on these FIRE REGIMES, see the FEIS species summaries on the community and ecosystem dominants listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
silver sagebrush Artemisia cana 5-45 [74,137,199]
sagebrush steppe A. tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [133]
basin big sagebrush A. t. var. tridentata 12-43 [154]
mountain big sagebrush A. t. var. vaseyana 15-40 [7,29,122]
Wyoming big sagebrush A. t. var. wyomingensis 10-70 (40**) [183,201]
saltbush-greasewood Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus < 35 to < 100
plains grasslands Bouteloua spp. < 35
blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass B. gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii < 35
blue grama-buffalo grass B. g.-Buchloe dactyloides < 35
cheatgrass Bromus tectorum < 10
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70
Rocky Mountain juniper J. scopulorum < 35
wheatgrass plains grasslands P. smithii < 35 [133]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [6,10,104]
eastern cottonwood Populus deltoides 133]
quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains) P. tremuloides 7-120 [6,58,121]
mountain grasslands Pseudoroegneria spicata 3-40 (10**) [5,6]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [6,7,8]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species summary
**mean
  • 10. 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]
  • 104. 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. [7183]
  • 119. 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]
  • 12. 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]
  • 121. Meinecke, E. P. 1929. Quaking aspen: A study in applied forest pathology. Tech. Bull. No. 155. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 34 p. [26669]
  • 122. 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. [26637]
  • 13. 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]
  • 132. Padgett, Wayne George. 1981. Ecology of riparian plant communities in southern Malheur National Forest. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 143 p. Thesis. [14933]
  • 133. 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]
  • 134. Pechanec, Joseph F.; Plummer, A. Perry; Robertson, Joseph H.; Hull, A. C., Jr. 1965. Sagebrush control on rangelands. Agriculture Handbook No. 277. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 40 p. [1858]
  • 137. Quinnild, Clayton L.; Cosby, Hugh E. 1958. Relicts of climax vegetation on two mesas in western North Dakota. Ecology. 39(1): 29-32. [1925]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 152. Rupp, Larry; Kjelgren, Roger; Ernstsen, Jerriann; Varga, William. 1997. Shearing and growth of five Intermountain native shrub species. Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 15(3): 123-125. [29195]
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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, sere, succession, tree

Silver sagebrush occurs in early to late stages of succession [12,94,131,148]. Reed [143] reported mountain silver sagebrush invading abandoned hayfields in the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park of Wyoming. These silver sagebrush steppes were sometimes stable, and sometimes succeeded to quaking aspen. Silver sagebrush prefers open sites, and is intolerant of all but light shade [189]. It grows on newly exposed soils and can survive fire, browsing, and short periods of flooding disturbance [63,99]. Researchers in Montana have documented a riparian sere on the Yellowstone River that begins on bare, disturbed sandbars, progresses through development of plains cottonwood/sandbar willow (Salix exigua) gallery to a Wood's rose-western snowberry (Rosa woodsii-Symphoricarpos occidentalis) shrubland stage as trees age and die out, and climaxes in a plains silver sagebrush-western wheatgrass-prairie sandreed steppe [18,19,67]. Hansen and others [67] suggest this riverside plains silver sagebrush steppe may be a zootic disclimax induced by cattle overbrowsing the riparian zone. Nelson [127] noted a different successional trajectory in the Badlands of North Dakota. There was no evidence of shrubland and climax steppe vegetation phases after tree death; instead, plains silver sagebrush invaded open plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera) galleries, sometimes dominating the understory.

Silver sagebrush may invade overgrazed mountain meadows [142]. Silver sagebrush steppes of Utah occur on mountain rangelands disturbed by heavy grazing; the steppes are usually codominated by herbaceous invaders. In the absence of disturbance, the silver sagebrush steppes progress to stable, late-successional seres codominated by bunchgrasses [131].

Jakubos and Romme [88] noted invasion of Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) into big sagebrush-silver sagebrush/sedge meadows in Yellowstone National Park. The authors attributed the tree invasion to a trend towards warmer climate since the late 1880s.

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  • 127. Nelson, Jack Raymond. 1961. Composition and structure of the principal woody vegetation types in the North Dakota Badlands. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 195 p. Thesis. [161]
  • 131. Padgett, Wayne G.; Youngblood, Andrew P.; Winward, Alma H. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. R4-Ecol-89-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 191 p. [11360]
  • 142. Ream, Robert Ray. 1964. The vegetation of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah and Idaho. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 178 p. Dissertation. [5506]
  • 143. Reed, John F. 1952. The vegetation of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, Wyoming. The American Midland Naturalist. 48(3): 700-729. [1949]
  • 148. Romo, James T.; Young, James A. 2002. Temperature profiles and the effects of field experiments on germination of silver sagebrush. Native Plant Journal. 3: 5-13. [42758]
  • 18. Boggs, Keith Webster. 1984. Succession in riparian communities of the lower Yellowstone River, Montana. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 107 p. Thesis. [7245]
  • 189. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 347 p. [4837]
  • 19. Boggs, Keith; Weaver, T. 1992. Response of riparian shrubs to declining water availability. 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: 48-51. [19094]
  • 63. Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 411 p. [5660]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 279 p. [12477]
  • 88. Jakubos, Bonnie; Romme, William H. 1993. Invasion of subalpine meadows by lodgepole pine in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research. 25(4): 382-390. [22582]
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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: adventitious, competition, cover, layering, natural, perfect, rhizome, root crown, shrub, shrubs

Silver sagebrush reproduces from seed and by sprouting and layering [71,186].

Breeding system: Silver sagebrush's perfect flowers are uniformly fertile [111]. Most breeding is accomplished by outcrossing, although some selfing occurs [112]. DNA studies of plains silver sagebrush showed evidence of interpopulation outcrossing, but differences in genetic diversity among populations were not great. McArthur and others [115] state that large population sizes and wind-effected pollination tend to minimize between-population differences in silver sagebrush.

Pollination: Pollen is mostly spread by wind. Since bees, beetles, and flies regularly visit silver sagebrush flowers, some insect-mediated pollination probably occurs [112,115,182].

Seed production: Sagebrush species tend to have high fruit set, seed set, and germination rates. High seed production and germination rates help offset the genus' generally low rate of seedling establishment (see Seedling establishment) [182]. Although a good fruit and seed producer, silver sagebrush has a lower rate of seed production than other species in its subgenus, with fruit set 18% lower than big sagebrush [71,179]. Silver sagebrush 1st starts producing seed at about 4 years of age [147].

Seed dispersal: At time of dispersal, the involucral bracts spread and release the ripe fruits [168]. The single seed remains contained within the fruit, which falls beneath or slightly downwind of the parent plant. Some long-distance dispersal probably occurs when the sticky fruits adhere to passing animals [71,159]. Wind and water also disperse seed away from the parent plant [12,49,187]. Fruits that fall on crusted snow may be moved long distances by wind. Sagebrush seeds float, and water currents may also carry seeds considerable distances [159].

Seed banking: Studies on potential seed banking of silver sagebrush are sparse, but a few studies suggest that silver sagebrush may build up a short-term seed bank.  Silver sagebrush seed retains its ability to geminate when stored under cool, dry conditions, but looses germinative capacity rapidly when exposed to unfavorable conditions. Eddleman [45] obtained better (73%) and faster germination from stratified, year-old seed than from unstratified 2-month-old seed (26% germination) in the laboratory. However, Romo and Young [148] found plains silver sagebrush seed rapidly lost its ability to germinate when exposed to field environments in Saskatchewan. Spring-sown seed showed significantly better emergence than fall-sown seed, which was more likely to be killed by fungi or drastic fluctuations in temperature. Some seeds that failed to germinate within the 1st year were still viable, and the authors suggest that silver sagebrush may have a small soil seed bank reserve on safe sites. Further studies are needed to determine ability of silver sagebrush to establish from soil-stored seed.

Germination: Silver sagebrush seed is immediately germinable, although best germination occurs when seeds are retained on the parent plant long enough to experience cold temperatures [45,186]. Seed germinates with or without light [184,186] over a wide range of temperatures [186]. Plains silver sagebrush seed collected in Montana, stored at room temperature for 2 years, and sown in the greenhouse showed 51% and 64% germination on filter paper (without and with fungicide treatment, respectively). Optimum germination appears to occur with persistently cool soil temperatures. When sown in the greenhouse, seeds showed 93% germination at 68 oFahrenheit (20 oC) and 97% germination at 59 oFahrenheit (15 oC) [71]. A Saskatchewan study found best germination of plains silver sagebrush occurred with stratification (> 28 days' duration) around 50 oFahrenheit (10 oC). Temperature range for germination was 41-77 oFahrenheit (5-25 oC) [146]. In the Montana study, exposure to relatively high temperatures (86 oFahrenheit (30 oC) for 14 days) prior to planting resulted in loss of seed viability. Germination rates were best for seed planted 2.5 mm below the soil surface. No germination occurred in seed more than 7.5 mm below the soil surface. Seeds sown on the soil surface germinated readily but were highly susceptible to desiccation [71]. 

Seedling establishment/growth: Although silver sagebrush seed production is high, few plants survive the germination and seedling stages [185]. Artificial plains silver sagebrush regeneration, established in southern Montana by seeding-in, showed  mean 1st-year survivorship of 3.4% [71]. Seedlings require open ground that is free from competition [71,147], and they are rare in undisturbed to lightly disturbed, mature stands [71,73]. On undisturbed steppes in the Badlands of North Dakota, plains silver sagebrush comprised 100% of total shrub cover, only 4% of which was seedlings [186]. Good establishment occurs on soils disturbed by animal burrowing or tilling [147]; the incidence of postfire seedling establishment needs further study. Silver sagebrush seedling mortality is greatest in the 1st year, tending to level out after that [71,186]. Investigators in Saskatchewan [83] found that up to a critical mass, seedling establishment and growth rates of plains silver sagebrush seedlings increased with increasing weight of their originating seeds; however, plants from seeds weighting > 0.57 mg showed poor germination, and growth of seedlings from the heaviest seeds was slow. In a Saskatchewan study, Romo and Grilz [147] found that only 5-6% of sown silver sagebrush seed produced seedlings, but 85% of seedlings that survived their 1st year also survived their 2nd. Drought is the primary cause of seedling death. Seedlings require moist soil for establishment and growth [186,187], and pulses of seedling establishment have been noted in years of above-average precipitation [187].

Acclimated seedlings are cold-hardy. Plains silver sagebrush seedlings from Saskatchewan survived exposure to -38 oFahrenheit (-39 oC) temperatures after hardening-off, while nonacclimated seedlings did not survive exposure to 7 oFahrenheit (-14 oC) temperatures. The researchers suggested that seedlings germinating early in spring may show better winter survivorship than later-germinating seedlings, as older seedlings that have gradually acclimated to cooling temperatures have had more time to develop protection from freezing by lignifying cell walls and expanding twig buds [82].

Asexual regeneration: Cloning is silver sagebrush's most common method of reproduction [148,187]. With 3 methods of sprouting and the ability to layer [12,71,72,90,189], silver sagebrush is the strongest sprouter in its subgenus [71,186,200]. It sprouts from the roots [12,14,17,38,71,72,114,126], rhizomes [12,17,114,126,157,171,189], and the root crown [47,152,189] after disturbance damages stem tissue [38,72,126,157] and removes apical dominance. A strong sprouting response from buried organs increases silver sagebrush's ability to survive flood, ice scour, drought, and even severe fire damage [47,186,187]. Enlargement of colonies via sprouting and layering is nearly the sole method of silver sagebrush regeneration in the absence of disturbance; both seedlings and sprouts may occur on disturbed sites. Origin of excavated plains silver sagebrush plants in Montana was approximately 37% from seed (no connecting rhizomes) and 63% from sprouts (plants connected by rhizomes). An excavated colony consisted of 15 individuals, all connected by a rhizome running within 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil surface. Each plant had its own root system. Soil texture may affect ability to clone: the only sites where plants established from seed outnumbered those originating from rhizomes were those with very gravelly or very clayey soils [71]. Similarly, another Montana study of plains silver sagebrush regeneration found plants started from seed outnumbered cloned plants only on sites with clay pans underlaid with gravel. Typical rates of establishment were 1/3rd from seed and 2/3rds from cloning [187]. 

Harvey [71] found layering was an important means of regeneration for silver sagebrush in eroded gullies. Stems that had been buried in silt by periodic floods were producing adventitious roots and sprouting; rhizomes were also producing sprouts.

Sprouting from the root crown is less frequently reported in the literature than sprouting from roots or rhizomes, but root crown sprouting may be an important adaptive response to drought and browsing. Approximately 3/5ths of the plains silver sagebrush plants on an eastern Montana site gradually died back to the root crown during the severe drought of the early1930s, sprouting back from the root crown in the spring of 1935. The remaining 2/5ths did not recover [47]. In a study of the response of native shrubs to pruning (a surrogate for browsing), silver sagebrush responded to annual pruning to a height of 0.5 foot (0.2 m ) by "vigorous" sprouting from the root crown. The sprouts grew quickly: after 3 years of treatment, there was no difference in mean height between pruned and unpruned silver sagebrush plants (3 feet (0.9 m)), although crown area was significantly less in pruned vs. unpruned plants (03.2 vs. 42.4 ft2 (2.81 vs. 3.91 m2), respectively; p = 0.05). [152].

Hybrids: Silver sagebrush hybrids may inherit ability to sprout and layer [71,115]. For example, a natural mountain silver sagebrush × mountain big sagebrush hybrid from Gallatin County, Montana, produced root sprouts in the field and layered when moved to the greenhouse [71].

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  • 82. Hou, Junqiang; Romo, J. T. 1998. Cold-hardiness of silver sagebrush seedlings. Journal of Range Management. 51(6): 704-708. [41531]
  • 83. Hou, Junqiang; Romo, J. T. 1998. Seed weight and germination time affect growth of 2 shrubs. Journal of Range Management. 51(6): 699-703. [41532]
  • 90. Johnson, Kendall L. 1979. Basic synecological relationships of the sagebrush types on the high plains of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources: 42-49. [1281]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: geophyte, phanerophyte

RAUNKIAER [141] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte
Geophyte
  • 141. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Although classified as evergreen, silver sagebrush sheds many of its leaves in winter [75], retaining a few until spring regrowth [168]. Leaves may drop early in response to drought [47]. Seedlings emerge and new growth of older plants starts from March to June, depending upon latitude and elevation [12,71,82,147]. In southern Montana, established plants initiate growth in late March, with seedlings emerging from mid-April to mid-June [71]. Flowering occurs in July and August in California and Oregon [72,75], from July through September in New Mexico [111], and in August and September in the Great Basin, northern Great Plains, and the interior Pacific Northwest [38,45,57,93,119,126]. The tomentum tends to thin around flowering time [38]. Seed dispersal is prolonged from early fall through the following spring [148]. Fruit and seed disperse as a unit, with most seed shattering from September through November [12,45,57,119,148,186]. Some fruits are retained on the parent plant until winter or spring [148].

Phenology of plains silver sagebrush on 6 sites across southern Montana was as follows [71]:

Event Timing
dormancy ends early to late March
apical bud enlargement late March  to mid-April
twig elongation mid-April to mid-May
lateral branch bud enlargement mid-May to mid-June
lateral branch elongation late May to mid-Aug.
floral branch elongation mid-June to mid-Aug.
floral bud enlargement July
anther development mid-July to mid-Aug.
flowering mid-Aug. to early Sept.
fruit ripens early Sept. to mid-Oct.
seed dissemination mid-Sept. to mid-Oct.
onset of winter dormancy mid-Oct. to mid-Nov.
  • 111. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 119. 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]
  • 12. 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]
  • 126. Mozingo, Hugh N. 1987. Shrubs of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. 342 p. [1702]
  • 147. Romo, J. T.; Grilz, R. W. 2002. Establishment of silver sagebrush in the Northern Mixed Prairie. Journal of Range Management. 55(3): 217-221. [41755]
  • 148. Romo, James T.; Young, James A. 2002. Temperature profiles and the effects of field experiments on germination of silver sagebrush. Native Plant Journal. 3: 5-13. [42758]
  • 168. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 186. Walton, Todd Patrick. 1984. Reproductive mechanisms of plains silver sagebrush Artemisia cana cana in southeastern Montana. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 161 p. Thesis. [100]
  • 38. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. [28653]
  • 45. Eddleman, Lee E. 1977. Indigenous plants of southeastern Montana. I. Viability and suitability for reclamation in the Fort Union Basin. Special Publication 4. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 122 p. [42440]
  • 47. Ellison, Lincoln; Woolfolk, E. J. 1937. Effects of drought on vegetation near Miles City, Montana. Ecology. 18(3): 329-336. [6264]
  • 57. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 72. Hayes, Doris W.; Garrison, George A. 1960. Key to important woody plants of eastern Oregon and Washington. Agric. Handb. 148. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 227 p. [1109]
  • 75. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 82. Hou, Junqiang; Romo, J. T. 1998. Cold-hardiness of silver sagebrush seedlings. Journal of Range Management. 51(6): 704-708. [41531]
  • 93. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 3 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Artemisia cana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Element occurs on rocky open sites and flood plains in the Great Plains, from bottomlands to high plains; abundance unknown.

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

Native Americans of the northern Rocky Mountains used a decoction of silver sagebrush leaves as a general tonic, and chewed the leaves to quench thirst. Blackfoot and Lakota used silver sagebrush as winter horse browse, and considered it the best sagebrush browse available for big game species. Tribes of the Great Basin used silver sagebrush branches as a fuelbed for roasting pinyon (Cembra) pinecones [123]. Many tribes use the branches in ceremonial rites [56].

Silver sagebrush is listed as a heat and drought tolerant plant suitable for xeriscaping [60]. Since young plants are not drought tolerant [186,187], generous dry-season irrigation is probably warranted for their 1st few years until plants establish a deep root system.

  • 123. Moerman, Dan. 1999. Native American ethnobotany database: Foods, drugs, dyes, and fibers of native North American peoples, [Online]. Available: http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/herb/ [2002, December 5]. [37492]
  • 186. Walton, Todd Patrick. 1984. Reproductive mechanisms of plains silver sagebrush Artemisia cana cana in southeastern Montana. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 161 p. Thesis. [100]
  • 187. Wambolt, Carl L.; Walton, Todd; White, Richard S. 1989. Seed dispersal characteristics of plains silver sagebrush. Prairie Naturalist. 21(3): 113-118. [15530]
  • 56. Gilmore, Melvin Randolph. 1919. Uses of plants by the Indians of the Missouri River region. In: 33rd annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Washington, DC: Bureau of American Ethnology: 44-154. [6928]
  • 60. Gutknecht, Kurt W. 1989. Xeriscaping: an alternative to thirsty landscapes. Utah Science. 50(4): 142-146. [10166]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: restoration

Silver sagebrush has potential as a soil stabilizer and for use in rangeland, wildlife, and riparian restoration projects [63,112,136,148,159,198]. It is established from seed, containerized stock, and nursery-grown cuttings [136,147]. Due to the species' strong tendency to layer, stem cuttings root easily [71]. Transplants have shown good growth on favorably moist sites. Plains silver sagebrush cuttings, used as part of an upland game bird habitat improvement project on the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, showed 95% survival and good growth 5 years after transplanting [160]. Silver sagebrush also regenerates when seeded on moist sites, and is recommended for inclusion in range seeding mixtures. Seeding-in is not recommended on dry sites [41,136,198]; however, silver sagebrush seed can germinate on soils with low water potentials due to dissolved salts [45]. Spring sowing is recommended [147,148]. The seed is commercially available [138].

Rehabilitation projects show variability in silver sagebrush's ability to establish on coal mine spoils. In southern Montana, silver sagebrush sown on coal mine spoils showed poor survivorship and seedling growth compared to germinants on unmined plots [71]. However, silver sagebrush cuttings transplanted on coal mine sites in Wyoming and Colorado showed good to excellent survivorship in their 1st year. Transplants on 2 Wyoming sites treated with topsoil showed 100% survivorship. In Colorado, transplants showed 50% survivorship on sites treated with topsoil and 100% survivorship on untreated coal mine spoils. Neither the Wyoming nor the Colorado coal mine sites were irrigated after transplanting [86]. Poor results on some sites may be due to toxic soil contaminants and/or dry soils. Further information is needed on ability of silver sagebrush to establish on contaminated soils.

Information on seed collection, processing, storage, and planting is available for silver sagebrush [45,147,159,189].

  • 112. McArthur, E. Durant. 1994. Ecology, distribution, and values of sagebrush within the Intermountain Region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 347-351. [24308]
  • 136. Platts, William S.; Armour, Carl; Booth, Gordon D.; [and others]. 1987. Methods for evaluating riparian habitats with applications to management. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-221. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 177 p. [6171]
  • 138. Rainier Seeds, Inc. 2002. [Homepage of Rainer Seeds, Inc], [Online]. Available: http://www.rainierseeds.com [2002, November 6]. [42441]
  • 147. Romo, J. T.; Grilz, R. W. 2002. Establishment of silver sagebrush in the Northern Mixed Prairie. Journal of Range Management. 55(3): 217-221. [41755]
  • 148. Romo, James T.; Young, James A. 2002. Temperature profiles and the effects of field experiments on germination of silver sagebrush. Native Plant Journal. 3: 5-13. [42758]
  • 159. 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]
  • 160. Shaw, Nancy; Sands, Alan; Turnipseed, Dale. 1984. Potential use of fourwing saltbush and other dryland shrubs for upland game bird cover in southern Idaho. In: Tiedemann, Arthur R.; McArthur, E. Durant; Stutz, Howard C.; [and others], compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Atriplex and related chenopods; 1983 May 2-6; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-172. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 206-214. [2125]
  • 189. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 347 p. [4837]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 41. DePuit, Edward J.; Coenenberg, Joe G.; Skilbred, Chester L. 1980. Establishment of diverse native plant communities on coal surface-mined lands in Montana as influenced by seeding method, mixture and rate. Research Report 163. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 64 p. [221]
  • 45. Eddleman, Lee E. 1977. Indigenous plants of southeastern Montana. I. Viability and suitability for reclamation in the Fort Union Basin. Special Publication 4. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 122 p. [42440]
  • 63. Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 411 p. [5660]
  • 71. Harvey, Stephen John. 1981. Life history and reproductive strategies in Artemisia. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 132 p. M.S. thesis. [1102]
  • 86. Howard, Gene S.; Rauzi, Frank; Schuman, Gerald E. 1979. Woody plant trials at six mine reclamation sites in Wyoming and Colorado. Production Research Report PRR 177/1/79. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 14 p. [42428]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, mesic, top-kill

Silver sagebrush provides valuable habitat and forage for wildlife. Deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and sage-grouse browse the foliage [51,198]. Voles (Microtus spp.) feed on silver sagebrush roots and rhizomes [186]. On the Great Plains, browsing ungulates generally make little use of silver sagebrush foliage in summer [14], but use plains silver sagebrush habitats all year due to their relatively mesic conditions. Bison and mule deer, for example, make heavy year-round use of use of plains silver sagebrush/western wheatgrass steppes of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota [65]. Mule deer may browse silver sagebrush heavily when other forage is dormant [103,108]. Silver sagebrush is also important on fall and winter ranges [89,171,186]. Bolander silver sagebrush/bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides) communities were rated as highest-use areas for mule deer on the Silver Lake-Fort Rock winter range of Lake County, Oregon, from November through May [106]. On the Missouri River Breaks of Montana, Rocky Mountain mule deer made greatest use of silver sagebrush in winter; it was a minor component of their spring and fall diets. Silver sagebrush on the Missouri River Breaks composed 33% total volume of  elk rumens (n=12) from fall samples; however, it was only present in trace amounts in samples from a preceding year. It was not found in rumen samples from cattle [108].

In regions with dry summers, livestock and wildlife may browse silver sagebrush when upland vegetation has already dried. In Modoc County of northeastern California, Bolander silver sagebrush communities were preferred summer-use areas for pronghorn, feral horses, and cattle [153]. Although a common staple for wildlife, livestock use of silver sagebrush is variable depending upon availability of palatable herbs [186]. Domestic sheep generally browse silver sagebrush more heavily than cattle [14]. Cattle may prefer grazing in silver sagebrush steppes, however, because their relatively mesic soils promotes heavier grass cover than in adjacent communities, especially in summer [95]. Livestock may actually make greater use of silver sagebrush when there is ample grass to go with it [198].

Silver sagebrush steppes are important habitat for wildlife. For example, they are the 2nd-most used habitat for sharp-tailed grouse in eastern Montana; the birds used only upland western wheatgrass-blue grama grassland habitats more than plains silver sagebrush steppes [174]. Silver sagebrush communities also provide important corridors for wildlife traveling from riparian zones to forested or grassland communities [129,132]. Three wildlife species, pronghorn, sage-grouse, and a native grasshopper, sometimes rely on silver sagebrush steppes as their primary habitat, and on silver sagebrush browse as their primary forage.

Silver sagebrush is used as an indicator species in pronghorn habitat suitability index models [3]. It provides winter maintenance and emergency forage [59,172]. Pronghorn also use silver sagebrush in the fall, particularly when vegetation on less mesic sites has dried [4,11,43]. For example, stomach samples of pronghorn taken during hunting season (Sept.-Oct.) in southeastern Montana were primarily sagebrush (plains silver and big sagebrush); several samples contained no other forage [34]. Pronghorn in Saskatchewan were concentrated on fall rangelands where plains silver sagebrush and creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) were available [43]. Heavy livestock grazing can degrade silver sagebrush habitat conditions for pronghorn [66]. Fires that top-kill large patches of silver sagebrush can adversely affect pronghorn habitat [9] until sprouts have attained a few years' growth.

When plentiful, silver sagebrush is important in the diet of sage-grouse [105,140]. Where it is the primary sagebrush cover, silver sagebrush communities are critical sage-grouse habitat [1]. Crop analysis of adult sage-grouse in White Pine County, Nevada, showed the birds were consuming almost nothing but mountain silver sagebrush [59]. Sage-grouse populations at the northern and eastern boundaries of the bird's distribution are most likely to be ecologically dependant on silver sagebrush [23]. Sage-grouse in southeastern Alberta -- where other woody sagebrush taxa are uncommon -- nest under plains silver sagebrush almost exclusively, and silver sagebrush is their primary diet item [1].

Silver or sand sagebrush are the primary diet items of the sagebrush grasshopper (Melanoplus bowditchi). A North Dakota study showed crop contents of sagebrush grasshoppers were 97% silver sagebrush. High densities of sagebrush grasshoppers have never been recorded, suggesting few economic impacts and little damage to silver sagebrush populations are caused by the insect. However, little is known of the ecology and life history of sagebrush grasshopper, and further studies are needed to assess the ecological and economic impacts of the grasshopper [135].

Palatability: Silver sagebrush is 1 of the more palatable and nutritious sagebrush species [181,198]. With a mean of 11%, winter (Jan.-March) crude protein content of Bolander silver sagebrush on the Fort Rock-Silver Lake winter mule deer range in central Oregon exceeded that of either low or big sagebrush [181]. Mule deer, fed 7 sagebrush taxa collected from the Silver Lake Range in fall and winter, showed highest relative preference* for Bolander silver, low, and mountain big sagebrush in both fall and winter feeding trials. Domestic sheep showed moderate preference (browsed but did not prefer) for Bolander silver and mountain big sagebrush in fall, and showed highest preference for Bolander silver, low, and mountain big sagebrush in winter. Area of collection did not affect the animals' choices, while taxa consistently did [161].
*relative preference index=% of diet/% composition available

Walton [186] has ranked Bolander, mountain, and plains silver sagebrush as most to least palatable, respectively.

Nutritional value: Nutritional content of silver sagebrush is greatest in the spring and declines slowly over winter. Silver sagebrush is rated "fair" in energy value and "fair to good" in protein value [44]. Mean chemical composition of plains silver sagebrush on the Little Missouri National Grasslands, North Dakota, was as follows [51].

  Ca* Mg* K* Cu* Fe (ppm) Mn (ppm) Zn (ppm)
Jan. 0.36 0.20 0.82 7.7 210 36 13
Feb. 0.46 0.61 1.87 4.7 290 33 12
March 0.46 0.17 0.81 4.7 223 39 14
April 0.56 0.29 1.78 5.9 233 72 21
May 0.84 0.57 2.90 6.3 437 119 18
June 0.79 0.47 1.33 5.4 212 46 19
July 1.02 0.45 1.25 0.8 193 39 13
Aug. 0.49 0.33 1.27 4.6 227 35 16
Sept. 0.65 0.30 0.97 3.9 207 43 12
Oct. 0.67 0.33 0.88 3.2 293 48 12
Nov. 0.58 0.31 0.86 3.7 250 47 11
Dec. 0.64 0.30 0.81 3.7 257 32 14
*Dry-weight pecentages.

Based upon nutritional content (protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, and mineral ), palatability, and dependability of supply on rangelands, silver sagebrush is rated low to fair forage for cattle, fair to good for domestic sheep, and good for pronghorn, elk, and deer [63,145].

Cover value: Silver sagebrush provides thermal and hiding cover for small mammals, small nongame birds, and game birds [44,66]. At the lower end of its elevational range, it provides important sage-grouse nesting cover [198].

  • 1. Aldridge, Cameron L.; Brigham, R. Mark. 2002. Sage-grouse nesting and brood habitat use in southern Canada. Journal of Wildlife Management. 66(2): 433-444. [41664]
  • 103. Kufeld, Roland C.; Wallmo, O. C.; Feddema, Charles. 1973. Foods of the Rocky Mountain mule deer. Res. Pap. RM-111. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 31 p. [1387]
  • 105. Leach, Howard R.; Hensley, Arthur L. 1954. The sage grouse in California with special reference to food habits. California Fish and Game. 40: 385-394. [42430]
  • 106. Leckenby, Donavin A. 1978. Mule deer occupancy of plant communities on a south-central Oregon winter range. Job Final Report. Research Project Number: W-70-R. July 1, 1965 to June 30, 1976. Portland, OR: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 81 p. [12496]
  • 108. Mackie, Richard J. 1970. Range ecology and relations of mule deer, elk, and cattle in the Missouri River Breaks, Montana. Wildlife Monographs No. 20. 79 p. [5897]
  • 11. Bayless, Steve. 1971. Relationships between big game and sagebrush. Paper presented at: Annual meeting of the Northwest Section of the Wildlife Society; 1971 March 25-26; Bozeman, MT. 14 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [17098]
  • 129. Norland, Jack E.; Marlow, Clayton B. 1984. Use of wooded draws by free-roaming bison. In: Noble, Daniel L.; Winokur, Robert P., eds. Wooded draws: Characteristics and values for the Northern Great Plains: Symposium proceedings; 1984 June 12-13; Rapid City, SD. Great Plains Agricultural Council Publication No. 111. Rapid City, SD: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Biology Department: 40-44. [1777]
  • 132. Padgett, Wayne George. 1981. Ecology of riparian plant communities in southern Malheur National Forest. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 143 p. Thesis. [14933]
  • 135. Pfadt, R. E. 1994. Species fact sheet--Sagebrush grasshopper (Melanoplus bowditchi Scudder). In: Field guide to common western grasshoppers. Bulletin 912. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. Available: http://www.sdvc.uwyo.edu/grasshopper/fieldgde.htm [2002, October 1]. [42042]
  • 14. Beetle, Alan A.; Johnson, Kendall L. 1982. Sagebrush in Wyoming. Bull. 779. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 68 p. [421]
  • 140. Rasmussen, D. I.; Griner, Lynn A. 1938. Life history and management studies of the sage grouse in Utah, with special reference to nesting and feeding habits. Transactions, North American Wildlife Conference. 3: 852-864. [42197]
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  • 153. Salwasser, Hal; Shimamoto, Karen. 1984. Pronghorn, cattle, and feral horse use of wetland and upland habitats. In: Warner, Richard E.; Hendrix, Kathleen M., eds. California riparian systems: Ecology, conservation, and productive management: Proceedings of a conference; 1981 September 17-19; Davis, CA. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press: 210-213. [5836]
  • 161. 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]
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  • 174. Swenson, Jon E. 1985. Seasonal habitat use by sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus, on mixed-grass prairie in Montana. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 99(1): 40-46. [23501]
  • 181. 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]
  • 186. Walton, Todd Patrick. 1984. Reproductive mechanisms of plains silver sagebrush Artemisia cana cana in southeastern Montana. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 161 p. Thesis. [100]
  • 198. Winward, Alma H. 2001. Sagebrush taxonomy and ecology workshop; 1999 October 5-6; Logan, UT [Online]. Logan, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 4, Wasatch-Cache National Forest (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/unit/eco/sagebrush_workshop/sagebrush_ecology.htm [2002, October 3]. [42051]
  • 23. Braun, Clait E. 1998. Sage grouse declines in western North America: what are the problems? In: Proceedings, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; 1998 June 26-July 2; Jackson, WY. Cheyenne, WY: Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: 139-156. [35365]
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  • 4. Amstrup, Steven C. 1978. Activities and habitat use patterns of pronghorns on Montana-Wyoming coal lands. In: Proceedings, 8th biennial pronghorn antelope workshop; 1978 May 2-4; Jasper, AB. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Recreation, Parks, and Wildlife, Fish and Wildlife Division: 270-304. [3300]
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  • 44. 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]
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  • 63. Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 411 p. [5660]
  • 65. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1984. The vegetation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-113. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p. [1077]
  • 66. Hansen, Paul L.; Pfister, Robert D.; Boggs, Keith; [and others]. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Missoula, MT: The University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 646 p. [24768]
  • 89. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18500]
  • 9. Bailey, Arthur W. 1978. Prescribed burning as an important tool for Canadian rangelands. In: McAvoy, S. D. A. M.; Gordon, R. C., co-chairs. Fire and range management: [Seminar proceedings]; [1978, April]; Regina, SK. [Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture, Lands Branch]: 15-27. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [18390]
  • 95. Knowles, Craig J. 1986. Some relationships of black-tailed prairie dogs to livestock grazing. The Great Basin Naturalist. 46(2): 198-203. [7530]

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Wikipedia

Artemisia cana

Artemisia cana is a species of sagebrush native to western and central North America, having three subspecies.[6][3][7] It known by many common names, including silver sagebrush,[2][3] sticky sagebrush, silver wormwood,[2] hoary sagebrush, and dwarf sagebrush.[3]

Subspecies[edit]

Subspecies include: [3][7]

  • Artemisia cana ssp. bolanderiBolander's silver sagebrush, silver sagebrush; California, Oregon, Nevada. [8] [9]
  • Artemisia cana subsp. canaplains silver sagebrush, silver sagebrush, Coaltown sagebrush
  • Artemisia cana ssp. viscidulamountain silver sagebrush, silver sagebrush, Coaltown sagebrush. [10]

Distribution[edit]

Artemisia cana, Silver sagebrush, is an aromatic shrub found in grasslands, floodplains and montane forests.[11] Artemisia cana is native to the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the American states of Alaska, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota.[2][7]

Description[edit]

The type specimen of Artemisia cana was described informally by its collector, Meriwether Lewis (collected on October 1, 1804, in the vicinity of Centinel Creek in South Dakota, during the epic Lewis and Clark Expedition), in the following passage from Original Journals of Lewis and Clark, edited by Thwaites in 1904 :

"On these hills many aromatic herbs are seen; resembling in taste, smel [ sic ] and appearance, the sage, hysop, wormwood, southernwood and two other herbs which are strangers to me the one resembling the camphor in taste and smell, rising to the height of 2 or 3 feet; the other about the same size, has a long narrow, smo[o]th, soft leaf of an agreeable smel [ sic ] and flavor; of this last the A[n]telope is very fond; they feed on it, and perfume the hair of their foreheads and necks with it by rubing [ sic ] against it." [12]

It generally reaches 50–150 cm in height, with examples west of the Continental Divide typically being shorter than those east of the divide.[6]

The leaves have a narrow blade shape, are evergreen, grey-green in colour, and have a distinct aroma.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^  Artemisia cana was first described and published in Flora Americae Septentrionalis; or, a Systematic Arrangement and Description of the Plants of North America 2: 521. 1813 "Plant Name Details for Artemisia cana". IPNI. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d  Original Publication GRIN (July 16, 2008). "Artemisia cana information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Howard, Janet L. (2002). "Artemisia cana". Fire Effects Information System (online). Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer): USDA; Forest Service. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
    Note: FEIS erroneously attributes authorship of A. c subsp. bolanderi to "(Gray) G.H.Ward" - the correct authorship goes to (A.Gray) G.H.Ward (the B & P abbreviation "Gray" refers to Samuel Frederick Gray, 1766–1828; "A.Gray" refers to Asa Gray, 1810–1888). The basionym of A. c subsp. bolanderi is Artemisia bolanderi, which was first described and published in 1883 (see the IPNI reference, below, for A. c. subsp. bolanderi).
  4. ^  Artemisia cana subsp. bolanderi (basionym: A. bolanderi) was published in Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium of Stanford University. Stanford, California. 4: 192. 1953 "Plant Name Details for Artemisia cana subsp. bolanderi". IPNI. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  5. ^  Artemisia cana subsp. viscidula (basionym: A. c. var. viscidula) was published in Rhodora; Journal of the New England Botanical Club. Cambridge, Massachusetts 61: 84. 1959 "Plant Name Details for Artemisia cana subsp. viscidula". IPNI. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Artemisia cana in Flora of North America @ efloras.org". Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  7. ^ a b c "USDA Plants Profile: Artemisia cana.". Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  8. ^ Jepson Manual: Artemisia cana ssp. bolanderi
  9. ^ USDA Plants: Artemisia cana ssp. bolanderi
  10. ^ USDA Plants: Artemisia cana ssp. viscidula
  11. ^ "NPIN: Artemisia cana (silver sagebrush)". Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  12. ^ William Clark. Original Journals of Lewis and Clark,1804–6. Vol. 1, Part 2. p. 307. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Includes Artemesia argillosa (Coaltown Sagebrush, Colorado), federal '3B'.

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The scientific name of silver sagebrush is Artemisia cana Pursh (Asteraceae)
[57,75,92,191]. Based upon differences in morphology and ploidy level [12,117],
some systematists recognize 3 subspecies:

Artemisia cana spp. bolanderi (Gray) G.H. Ward [12,75,92,117]   
Bolander silver sagebrush

Artemisia cana ssp. cana   plains silver sagebrush

Artemisia cana ssp. viscidula (Osterh.) Beetle [12,92,117]   mountain silver sagebrush
Within this summary, "silver sagebrush" refers to the species as a whole.
Infrataxa are referred to by the 3 common names listed above. Not all authorities

recognize infrataxa within silver sagebrush [38,190].
Hybrids: The sagebrush genus is evolving rapidly, and hybridization is an
important factor in its evolution
[96,97,113,116,188]. Silver sagebrush readily hybridizes with other woody sagebrush species
(Artemisia subgenus
Tridentatae)
including threetip sagebrush (A. tripartita), big sagebrush (A. tridentata)
[117,188,190,191],
and low sagebrush (A. arbuscula) [12,117,190]. Silver sagebrush ×
mountain big sagebrush (A. t. ssp. vaseyana) and silver
sagebrush × Lahontan sagebrush (A. a. ssp. longicaulis) hybrids
form stable, self-reproducing populations that some authorities classify as distinct
taxonomic entities (snowfield sagebrush (A.
spiciformis Osterh.) and coaltown sagebrush (A. argilosa Beetle),
respectively) [12,114,116,118,163].
Silver sagebrush infrataxa also hybridize with each other, although Bolander silver sagebrush
is geographically isolated from the other 2 subspecies and does not do
so naturally [12,38,114]. Sagebrush
hybrids are important ecologically as well as evolutionarily, often tolerating
a broader range of ecological conditions than either parent [116].
Fire effects to silver sagebrush hybrids
are discussed in that section of this review.
  • 113. McArthur, E. Durant. 2000. Sagebrush systematics and distribution. In: Entwistle, P. G.; DeBolt, A. M.; Kaltenecker, J. H.; Steenhof, K., compilers. In: Sagebrush steppe ecosystems symposium: Proceedings; 1999 June 21-23; Boise, ID. Publ. No. BLM/ID/PT-001001+1150. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Boise State Office: 9-14. [41811]
  • 114. 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]
  • 116. McArthur, E. Durant; Pope, C. Lorenzo; Freeman, D. Carl. 1981. Chromosomal studies of subgenus Tridentatae of Artemisia: evidence for autopolyploidy. American Journal of Botany. 68(5): 589-605. [42431]
  • 117. McArthur, E. Durant; Sanderson, Stewart C. 1999. Cytogeography and chromosome evolution of subgenus Tridentatae of Artemisia (Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany. 86(12): 1754-1775. [34931]
  • 118. 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]
  • 12. 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]
  • 163. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Comparative leaf anatomy of sagebrush: ecological considerations. 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: 253-264. [2140]
  • 188. Ward, George H. 1953. Artemisia, section Seriphidium, in North America: a cytotaxonomic study. Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium. 4(6): 155-205. [2454]
  • 190. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 191. 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]
  • 38. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. [28653]
  • 57. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 75. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 92. 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]
  • 96. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1998. Phylogenetic analysis of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on sequences from the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA. American Journal of Botany. 85(2): 1787-1795. [42433]
  • 97. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1999. Molecular phylogeny of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on chloroplast DNA restriction site variation. Systematic Botany. 24(1): 69-84. [42432]

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Common Names

Species names:

    silver sagebrush

    hoary sagebrush

    dwarf sagebrush

Subspecies names:

    Bolander silver sagebrush

    plains silver sagebrush

    mountain silver sagebrush

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