Three-tip Sagebrush - Artemisia tripartita
PLANTS: Well-developed shrubs of 5–80 cm height with fibrous roots and adventitious buds that can sprout after fire. Plants are pale gray to gray-green and densely tomentose and aromatic. Sources: Shultz in Flora of North America [FNA] 2006; Lesica et al. 2012
LEAVES: 1–3 cm long and deeply divided into linear or linear-oblong segments divided distally into 3 linear lobes. Sources: Shultz in FNA 2006; Lesica et al. 2012
INFLORESCENCE: Yellowish to reddish flower heads are arranged in panicles; the arrays are (5-)8-15(-35) cm by 0.5-1.0 cm (FNA 2006). Bracts that subtend the flowers are linear and entire. Sources: Shultz in FNA 2006; Lesica et al. 2012
Montana plants only belong to subspecies tripartita.
Artemisia tripartita ssp. rupicola was reported for Montana based on a specimen at the Montana State University herbarium (MONT #56976) that is mis-labeled and actually was collected in Wyoming. Subspecies rupicola is only known from Wyoming (Shultz in FNA 2006).
Artemisia tripartita occurs from British Columbia in Canada south to Nevada and east to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in the U.S. (Lesica et al. 2012). The distribution reported in the Flora of North America (Shultz in FNA 2006) is in error because it omits Montana; most western Montana counties have validated specimens (see county dot-map in Lesica et al. 2012).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Sandy to clay soils of sagebrush steppe in the valleys to subalpine zones of Montana (Lesica et al. 2012).
Sagebrush in general is adapted to climates with cold winters where most precipitation falls in the winter (Meyer 2008). Shrubs in the genus Artemisia are important winter browse for ungulates (Meyer 2008). This species relies on wind for pollination and seed dispersal (Meyer 2008). Each seed is enclosed in a papery pericarp. The pericarp has mucilaginous nerves that may help the seed stick to the soil while its root penetrates (Meyer 2008).
The involucre of the flower head is turbinate, 1.5-3 mm wide and 2.5–3.5 mm tall; the outer phyllaries are green and canescent while the inner phyllaries are brown to purple and glandular (Lesica et al 2012). The receptacle is glabrous. Heads are comprised of 3 to 11 disk flowers that are perfect, glandular, and have yellow to reddish corollas of 1.5–2 mm length (Lesica et al. 2012).
Achenes are glabrous or resinous and about 2 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 19. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 6: Asteraceae, part 1. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 579 pp.
- Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 20. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 7: Asteraceae, part 2. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxii + 666 pp.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Meyer, S.E. 2008. Artemisia L. in Bonner, F.T. and R.P. Karrfalt. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC: USDA, Forest Service. 1223 p.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
- Cutting, K.A., J.J. Rotella, S.R. Schroff, M.R. Frisina, J.A. Waxe, E. Nunlist, and B.F. Sowell. 2019. Maladaptive nest-site selection by a sagebrush dependent species in a grazing-modified landscape. Journal of Environmental Management 236:622-630.
- Harvey, S.J. 1990. Responses of steppe plants to gradients of water soil texture and disturbance in Montana, U.S.A. Ph.D. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 34 p.
- Hoffman, T.L. 1996. An ecological investigation of mountain big sagebrush in the Gardiner Basin. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 84 p.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
- Payne, J.M. 2018. Can targeted cattle grazing increase abundance of forbs or arthropods in sage-grouse brood-rearing habitat. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 59 p.
- Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
- Rouse, R.A. 1957. Elk food habits, range use and movements, Gravelly Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 29 p.
- Schroff, Sean R. 2016. Nest site selection and brood home ranges of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in the Centennial Valley, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
- South, P.R. 1957. Food habits and range use of the mule deer in the Scudder Creek area, Beaverhead County, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 34 p.
- Thompson, Scott K. 2002. Browse condition and trend on Montana ungulate ranges. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 147 p.