prairie sagewort

(Artemisia frigida)

Conservation Status
prairie sagewort
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Prairie sagewort is an erect, long-lived, perennial forb that rises on up to 24 stems from a woody caudex. It forms a low mound or densely tangled, interwoven mass (mat). Like most Artemisia species, the leaves and stem are strongly aromatic when bruised.

It produces both flowering stems and non-flowering, vegetative stems. The lower stems are vegetative, short, often branched, woody, and spreading. The upper stems are flowering, herbaceous, and erect. They can be from 4 to 24 tall, but are usually no more than 16 in height. The stems are densely covered with short, grayish-white, woolly or felty hairs, giving them a grayish-green appearance.

Leaves are deciduous and 3 16 to long or longer. Lower leaves are on short leaf stalks, upper leaves are stalkless. There is often a pair of stipule-like lobes or leaflets at the base of the leaf stalk. The leaf blades are deeply divided into 3 primary lobes (ternate). The primary lobes may be divided into 3 secondary lobes (biternate), which may be again divided into 3 lobes (triternate). The ultimate lobes are narrowly linear, often thread-like, 1 64 to 1 16 wide, and are mostly sharply pointed at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are densely covered with short, woolly or felty hairs, giving them a grayish-green appearance. The margins are untoothed and usually rolled under.

The inflorescence is an elongated, leafy, branched cluster (panicle) of at the end of the stems and branches. The panicles are 1½ to 6 long or longer, 3 16 to ¾ wide or wider, and have numerous flower heads.

The flower heads are ¼ in diameter. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is globe-shaped, about 3 16 long and wide, and 1 16 to high. The bracts of the involucre are in 2 or 3 overlapping rows, often indistinct, and moderately to densely covered with woolly hairs. The inner series of bracts have broad, thin, papery, transparent margins and tip. There are no ray florets. The disk has female (pistillate) florets as well as florets that have both male and female parts (perfect). On the margin of the disk are 10 to 17 pale yellow, pistillate florets. In the center are 20 to 50 pale yellow, perfect florets. The receptacle is covered with relatively long, soft, shaggy but unmatted hairs between the florets.

The fruit is a tiny achene.




4 to 16


Flower Color


Pale yellow


Similar Species




Dry. Prairies, fields, meadows, cliffs. Full sun.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Anthemideae (chamomiles, yarrows, and allies)  
  Subtribe Artemisiinae  
  Genus Artemisia (wormwoods and sagebrushes)  


  Artemisia frigida var. williamsiae  

Common Names


fringed sage

fringed sage-wort

fringed sagebrush

fringed sagewort

prairie sagebrush

prairie sage-wort

prairie sagewort

sage 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 ternate. A leaf divided into 3 segments, with each segment divided into 3 leaflets or lobes.



Not woody.



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



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



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



The thickened, upper part of a flower stalk to which flowers or flower parts are attached. In composite flowers, the part on which the flowers are borne. In accessory fruits the receptacle gives rise to the edible part of the fruit.



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.



Refers to leaves that are divided into three leaflets or sections.

Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.






    prairie sagewort      


    prairie sagewort   prairie sagewort  



  Artemisia frigida
Matt Lavin
  Artemisia frigida  

Native generally mat-forming subshrub or herb with stems to 60 cm tall. Grasslands, sagebrush steppe, overgrazed rangeland and generally moderately disturbed settings including roadsides. The pendulous heads with hairy receptacles are also found in Artemisia absinthium.




Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos



Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.