field sagewort

(Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

field sagewort


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

UPL - Obligate upland


UPL - Obligate upland

Northcentral & Northeast

UPL - Obligate upland






Dry. Prairies, woods.


Late July to mid-September

Flower Color

Pale yellow


8 to 32


This is a 8 to 32 tall, erect, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that rises on usually 1, sometimes 2 to 5 stems from a large taproot. Unlike most Artemisia species, the leaves and stem are not fragrant or are only slightly fragrant when crushed.

In the first year it forms a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it send up a flowering stem. It usually dies after bearing fruit once.

The stems are erect or ascending, usually unbranched, and hairless at maturity. They are green at first, eventually turning reddish-brown.

Basal leaves are numerous, green, feathery in appearance, 1½ to 4¾ long including the leaf stalk, and up to 1½ wide. They are deeply cut into 3 to 7 primary lobes (pinnatifid). The primary lobes are again divided into secondary lobes (bipinnatifid), which may be once more lobed (3 times pinnatifid). The ultimate lobes are mostly sharply pointed at the tip, narrowly linear, and 1 50 to 1 16wide. The upper and lower surfaces are sometimes sparsely to moderately covered with fine, white, cobwebby hairs when young, but are hairless when mature. The margins are untoothed. Basal leaves and lower stem leaves are usually withered by flowering time.

Stem leaves are similar, alternate, ¾ to 1½ long, and 3 16 to wide, becoming gradually smaller and less divided as they ascend the stem. They do not have leaf-like stipules or stipule-like lobes at the base.

The inflorescence is a narrow, elongated, branched cluster (panicle) of numerous flower heads at the end of the stems and branches. The panicles are 4¾ to 11¾ long, to 3 wide, and mostly leafless.

The flower head is small, top-shaped, and inconspicuous. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is about 1 16 long and 1 16 wide. On the margin of the disc are 5 to 20 pale yellow ray florets with both stamens and pistils that are fertile and produce fruits. In the center are 12 to 30 pale yellow disk florets that also have both stamens and pistils, but have abortive ovaries and do not produce fruits. There is no floral scent.

The fruit is a tiny achene.


Northern sagewort (Artemisia borealis) is a shorter plant, no more than 15¾ tall. It is usually in the form of a 4 to 12 tall mound. The panicles are much shorter, 3 to 4 long, with fewer but larger heads. The involucres are globe-shaped, not top-shaped, and are larger, long and to 3 16 wide.

Pests and Diseases

Gall midge (Rhopalomyia artemisiae) creates globular galls at the tip or in the leaf axils.

Gall midge (Rhopalomyia baccarum) creates fleshy galls on the stems.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.




Asteraceae (aster)









Anthemideae (camomile)





Artemisia campestris var. caudata

Artemisia caudata

Artemisia caudata var. calvens

Artemisia forwoodii

Oligosporus campestris ssp. caudatus

Oligosporus caudatus


beach wormwood

field sagewort

field sage-wort

field wormwood

Pacific wormwood

tall wormwood










A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Twice pinnatifid. Cut deeply into lobes with each lobe also cut into deep lobes.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

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Leaves field sagewort   field sagewort
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Stem field sagewort    



  Artemisia campestris
Matt Lavin
  Artemisia campestris  

Native taprooted biennial or perennial herb to 50 cm tall, basal leaf rosette well developed before withering and disintegrating, grayish green stem leaves pinnately dissected, contrasting against reddish stems. Distal stems can be confused with those of A. dracunculus if leaves are not carefully observed. Roadsides, trailsides, and similarly disturbed settings.




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