White Prairie Sage or

White Prairie Sage or

White Prairie Sage

The leaves are aromatic when crushed. White Sage vaguely resembles Prairie Sagewort (Artemisia frigida) from a distance, but the latter has small leaves deeply lobed in linear segments, is more clump forming, and usually rather shorter. Also similar is Sawtooth Wormwood (Artemisia serrata), which has toothed leaves that are dark green on the upper surface and white on the underside, and hairless stems below the flower cluster. There are about 7 subspecies of A. ludoviciana (or more depending on the reference), most of which are native to western and southwestern North America. Subsp. ludoviciana is the most common, found throughout the US and Canada, and is the species found in Minnesota.



Spreading by rhizomes, Prairie Sage can form dense colonies that give a distinctive silver-green accent to large plantings on sunny sites with mesic to dry soil. Its stems and foliage are covered with woolly gray or white hairs and topped by nodding clusters of yellowish disk flowers that bloom through summer. These flowers attract many pollinators. Prairie Sage is also one of the host plants for the American Lady and the Painted Lady. The plants reach heights of 3’ and are easily propagated by rhizome cuttings in spring, tip cuttings in early summer or by division of mature plants. This species is the Sage used in Sage Bundles for smudging and ceremonial purposes for many Native American tribes.This perennial plant becomes about 2-3' tall when it is mature, branching occasionally in the upper half. The stems are covered in a dense mat of short white hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 3�" long and 1" across.

They are usually oblanceolate, narrowly ovate, or linear. The lower leaves may have a few lobes or coarse teeth towards their tips, while the upper leaves have smooth margins. Like the stems, the leaves have a dense mat of short white hairs, especially on the lower surface. This variety of White Sage has dense white hairs on the upper surface of the leaves as well, except for the oldest leaves toward the bottom of the plant. The leaves are sessile against the stem, or have short petioles. Some of the upper stems terminate in elongated spikes or narrow racemes of compound flowers. Each flowerhead is only 1/8" (3 mm.) across, and contains numerous whitish green disk florets that are inconspicuous. The blooming period is late summer to early fall, and lasts about 2-3 weeks. There is no floral scent, although the foliage of this plant is quite aromatic. Pollination is by wind, rather than insects. The tiny seeds are without tufts of hair, but are small enough to be distributed by the wind. The root system is rhizomatous, and can form a dense mat of roots near the surface of the ground. As a result, this plant has a strong tendency to form clonal colonies that exclude other plants. (Source:www.illinoiswildflowers.info)



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