Black Sagebrush

  • Scientific name: Artemesia nova
  • Short, low growing shrub
  • Good forage to wildlife and livestock
  • Good species for dry sites with shallow soils
  • often occurs in solid stands as the dominant species

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

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Black Sagebrush (Artemesia nova) is a short, low growing evergreen arid zone sagebrush. It provides good forage to wildlife and livestock. It establishes very well and is a good conservation species for dry sites with shallow soils. Artemesia nova is found most in low desert terrain clustered in the valley, or in sparsely vegetated mountain slops of 4,000 to 8,000 ft. Artemisia nova is adapted to soils with a pH range of 7.0 to 8.5. Black sagebrush establishes readily and spreads naturally by seed. It is a good conservation species for dry sites and occupies drier sites with shallower, coarser soils than big sagebrush or low sagebrush.

Black sagebrush is widely distributed in the western United States. It occurs in arid regions of western North America in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.  The leaf surface is often covered with hair, a feature which distinguishes this species from big sagebrush species. These hairs give the leaves a darker appearance. It resembles low sagebrush, but can be separated by its having entire leaves on the flowering stems and stalked flower heads. Provides good forage to wildlife and livestock. It is preferred forage for deer and antelope year round. It is intolerant of fire; however, fires are infrequent in sites where this species grows due to the open plant communities with sparse vegetation.

Black sagebrush readily hybridizes with other members of section Tridentatae resulting in narrow bands of intermediate forms situated between populations. Typically occupies sites unsuited to other sagebrush species and forms distinct plant communities.

This shrub is often found in association with Shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), and winterfat (Krascheninikovia lanata). It is also found as a lesser component with big sagebrush, pinyon-juniper and mountain brush communities. Communities dominated by this species typically have an abundance of bare ground between plants with few forbs. It is primarily found in low desert scrub communities in valley bottoms or on sparsely vegetated mountain slopes. It often occurs in solid stands as the dominant or co-dominant species.

This sagebrush is slower to develop than big sagebrush. Grazing should be deferred for 2 to 5 years for establishment. When established in rocky soils this shrub will exclude annual weeds.

***Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

(Artemesia nova)


Black Sagebrush NRCS Plant Guide and Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By: Derek Tilley, USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Aberdeen, ID
Loren St. John, USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Aberdeen, ID

Download PDF

(Artemesia nova)

Pocket Guide to Sagebrush

PDF version of Point Blue Conservation Science

Prepared By: Leila Shultz, Utah State University
Illustrations By: Linda Ann Vorobik
Design & Layout By: Scott Gillihan

Download PDF

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Black Sagebrush
  • Artemisia nova A.Nelson

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Black Sage

Scientific Name:



Plant Type:

pH Tolerance:

Seed Count


Plant Height:

Min. Precipitation

6 inches

Growth Season:

Best Time to Sow:

Sun & Shade Tolerance:

Full Sun

Hardiness Zones:

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