Artemisia californica

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Artemisia californica
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Artemisia californica01.jpg
Plant Info
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Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Asterales
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Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Asteraceae
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Genus: Artemisia
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Species: A. californica
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Binomial name
Artemisia californica
Trinomial name
Type Species

Artemisia californica, also known as California sagebrush, of the Asteraceae, is a shrub that grows in coastal sage scrub, coastal strand, chaparral, and dry foothill communities, from sea level to 800 m (2600 ft.). It is a native to California and Baja California.


Physical description

The plant branches from the base and grows out from there, becoming rounded; it grows from 15 to 25 dm (5–8 ft.). The stems of the plant are slender, flexible, and glabrous or canesent. The leaves range from 1–10 cm long and are pinnately divided with 2–4 lobes that are less than 5 cm long, less than 1 mm wide, and are thread-like. The leaves are hairy and light green to gray in color; the margins of the leaves are curled under themselves. The capitulescences are leafy, narrow, and sparse. The capitula are less than 5 mm in diameter. The pistillate flowers range in number from 6 to 10 and the disk flowers range from 15 to 30, and they are generally yellowish in appearance. The fruits produced are 0.8 to 1.5 mm long and are resinous. There is a pappus present that forms a minute crown above the ovary.

Many people regard the species to have a pleasant smell.

Habitat & cultivation

Artemisia californica needs full sun and likes to grow on west and north slopes. It needs little water and prefers no water in the summer months; it does not seem that soil types affect plant growth much. This plant relies on fires for seed germination and burned plants can crown-sprout and keep growing. It is often claimed to be allelopathic: to secrete chemicals into the ground which inhibit other plants from growing near and around the shrub. But, as with most claims of allelopathy in many other plant species, scientific evidence is scant, or lacking altogether.

Animals rarely eat Artemisia californica, but it does provide good cover for smaller birds and other animals that can fit between its stems.


Although Artemisia californica is not a true sage, it can be used in cooking as a spice and can also be made into tea. It has also been used in the past for a treatment to fight coughs and colds.

This shrub is also used to rehabilitate disturbed sites of degraded coastal sage scrub.

External links


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