Table of Contents
|Pygmy sagebrush habitat on the clay hills of White Pine County, NV|
Based on specialized morphology, pygmy sagebrush was formerly placed in the monotypic section Pygmaeae, in subgenus Seriphidium by Rydberg (1916) [3,21]. Later systematists have placed it in section Tridentatae based on its completely woody nature, North American distribution, molecular genetics, chemistry, and fertile, homogamous perfect disc flowers [3,20,21,28,29,34,35]. Despite numerous investigations, the origin and relationship of Tridentatae remains unresolved. Pygmy sagebrush is probably the most difficult Artemisia species to place taxonomically because it is morphologically, anatomically and chemically distinct from all other species of section Tridentatae [3,12,29].LIFE FORM:
In Utah, pygmy sagebrush occurs in black sagebrush (Artemisia nova) [6,16,31,32,33,56], rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), greasebush (Glossopetalon spp.), juniper, pinyon-juniper, and ponderosa pine communities .In Nevada, it occurs with halophytic threadleaf rubber rabbitbrush (C. nauseosus ssp. consimilis) [6,12,16,31,32,33] and is also associated with saltbush (Atriplex spp.) .
Pygmy sagebrush is a dwarf, cushionlike, evergreen, perennial native shrub. This desert species exhibits numerous morphological adaptations that enable it to live in very xeric sites. It grows no taller than 8 inches (20 cm). Leaves on the vegetative stems are nearly glabrous, between 0.08 to 0.16 inch (2-4 mm) wide, 0.08 to 0.32 inch (2-8 mm) long, and are pinnatifid with 3 to 11 lobes, or sometimes may be only toothed [8,18,56]. Leaves on the flowering branches are usually reduced and may be entire [6,27,31,32,33]. The flower head contains 3 to 5 disc flowers arranged into spikelike inflorescences. Ray flowers are lacking. Fruits are glabrous or resinous-glandular achenes [8,56]. Seeds are large for Artemisia species [6,27]; however, quantitative seed measurements are not available. Pygmy sagebrush has a taproot .RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
Pollination: Artemisia species are wind- and self pollinated .
Seed production: Pygmy sagebrush is reportedly capable of producing large quantities of seed , but quantitative counts are not available.
Seed dispersal: Artemisia seeds have very poor dispersal due to a lack of appendages for airborne transport. Most seed falls beneath the parent plant, and populations expand 3 feet (0.9 m) or less per generation .
Seed banking: No information is available on this topic.
Germination: Specific information on the germination of pygmy sagebrush is unavailable. Artemisia seeds may germinate within 48 hours and produce cotyledons in 4 days .
Seedling establishment/growth: Artemisia seed falls too late to germinate that fall. No evidence has shown that fall-dispersed seed surviving through summer can germinate in its 2nd fall. Survival of seed is related to the litter layer. The less the litter, the more likelihood of seed survival .
Asexual regeneration: There have been no reports of pygmy sagebrush reproducing asexually in the wild.SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Elevations where pygmy sagebrush occurs range from 4,500 feet (1,400 m) to 11,000 feet (3,300 m). Elevational ranges by state are shown below.
|Arizona||4,500 feet ( 1,400 m) |
|Nevada||5,000-11,000 feet (1,500-3,300 m) |
|Utah||5,200-7,500 feet (1,600-2,300 m) |
Soil: Pygmy sagebrush is restricted to desert calcareous soils in the Great Basin and Uinta Basin [3,6,14,15,18,20,21,25,26,33,45,53,55]. It prefers alkaline soils [8,12,40] with a high clay content . Pygmy sagebrush reportedly grows on white gypsum outcrops in northern and central Nevada . In Arizona it grows on Green River shale, clay soils forming the matrix in igneous gravels, calcareous gravels, dolomitic outcrops, and gravels .
Climate: Mean annual precipitation within the range of pygmy sagebrush is approximately 7.9 to 11.8 inches (200-300 mm) .SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Fire regimes: Habitats of dwarf sagebrush species such as pygmy sagebrush seldom support enough vegetation to carry a fire ; however, invasive annuals such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) can increase fire frequency in sagebrush communities .
The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where pygmy sagebrush may be important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|silver sagebrush steppe||Artemisia cana||5-45 [13,41,58]|
|sagebrush steppe||A. tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata||20-70 |
|basin big sagebrush||A. tridentata var. tridentata||12-43 |
|Wyoming big sagebrush||A. tridentata var. wyomingensis||10-70 (40**) [51,59]|
|saltbush-greasewood||Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus||<35 to <100|
|desert grasslands||Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica||<35 to <100|
|blackbrush||Coleogyne ramosissima||<35 to <100|
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||<35 |
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [1,2,23]|
Palatability/nutritional value: The overall browse value of pygmy sagebrush is low . The palatability of pygmy sagebrush in Utah is rated as follows :
|Small nongame birds||Poor|
|Upland game birds||Fair|
The composition and concentration of volatile oils in plants may influence the selection of food plants by ruminants such as pronghorn and mule deer. The following table represents the average utilization of pygmy sagebrush by mule deer and relative percent concentration of 3 major volatile compounds in pygmy sagebrush in Utah :
Cover value: Pygmy sagebrush provides important ground cover for small animals in dry, alkaline areas where it is difficult for other plants to grow [16,27,31,32,33].VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
1. Arno, Stephen F. 2000. Fire in western forest ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 97-120. 
2. Baisan, Christopher H.; Swetnam, Thomas W. 1990. Fire history on a desert mountain range: Rincon Mountain Wilderness, Arizona, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20: 1559-1569. 
3. Beetle, A. A. 1960. A study of sagebrush: The section Tridentatae of Artemisia. Bulletin 368. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 83 p. 
4. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. 
5. Blackburn, Wilbert H.; Tueller, Paul T.; Eckert, Richard E., Jr. 1968. Vegetation and soils of the Duckwater Watershed. Reno, NV: University of Nevada, College of Agriculture. 81 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 
6. Blaisdell, James P.; Murray, Robert B.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1982. Managing Intermountain rangelands--sagebrush-grass ranges. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-134. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 41 p. 
7. Brunner, James R. 1972. Observations on Artemisia in Nevada. Journal of Range Management. 25(3): 205-208. 
8. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 5. Asterales. New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 496 p. 
9. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. 
10. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. 
11. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; Lewis, Mont E.; Smith, Dixie R. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. 
12. Hall, Harvey M.; Clements, Frederic E. 1923. The phylogenetic method in taxonomy: the North American species of Artemisia, Chrysothamnus, and Atriplex. Publication No. 326. Washington, DC: The Carnegie Institute of Washington. 355 p. 
13. Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Berry, Dawn; Agee, James K. 1994. Fire history database of the western United States. Final report. Interagency agreement: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency DW12934530; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service PNW-93-0300; University of Washington 61-2239. Seattle, WA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pacific Northwest Research Station; University of Washington, College of Forest Resources. 28 p. [+ appendices]. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 
14. Johnson, Kendall L. 1987. Sagebrush types as ecological indicators to integrated pest management (IPM) in the sagebrush ecosystem of western North America. In: Onsager, Jerome A., ed. Integrated pest management on rangeland: State-of-the-art in the sagebrush ecosystem. ARS-50. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: 1-10. 
15. Johnson, Kendall L., ed. 1983. Proceedings--1st Utah shrub ecology workshop; 1981 September 9-10; Ephraim, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University. 49 p. 
16. Jorgensen, Kent R.; Stevens, Richard. 2004. Seed collection, cleaning, and storage. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Stevens, Richard; Shaw, Nancy L., comps. Restoring western ranges and wildlands. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-136-vol-3. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 699-716. 
17. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Available: North Carolina Botanical Garden. In cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [2001, January 16]. 
18. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 3 volumes]. Dissertation. 
19. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. 
20. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1998. Phylogenetic analysis of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on sequences from the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA. American Journal of Botany. 85(2): 1787-1795. 
21. Kornkven, Amy B.; Watson, Linda E.; Estes, James R. 1999. Molecular phylogeny of Artemisia section Tridentatae (Asteraceae) based on chloroplast DNA restriction site variation. Systematic Botany. 24(1): 69-84. 
22. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. 
23. Laven, R. D.; Omi, P. N.; Wyant, J. G.; Pinkerton, A. S. 1980. Interpretation of fire scar data from a ponderosa pine ecosystem in the central Rocky Mountains, Colorado. In: Stokes, Marvin A.; Dieterich, John H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the fire history workshop; 1980 October 20-24; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 46-49. 
24. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. 
25. McArthur, E. Durant. 1994. Ecology, distribution, and values of sagebrush within the Intermountain Region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Kitchen, Stanley G., compilers. Proceedings--ecology and management of annual rangelands; 1992 May 18-22; Boise, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-313. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 347-351. 
26. McArthur, E. Durant. 2000. Sagebrush systematics and distribution. In: Entwistle, P. G.; DeBolt, A. M.; Kaltenecker, J. H.; Steenhof, K., compilers. In: Sagebrush steppe ecosystems symposium: Proceedings; 1999 June 21-23; Boise, ID. Publ. No. BLM/ID/PT-001001+1150. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Boise State Office: 9-14. 
27. McArthur, E. Durant; Blauer, A. Clyde; Plummer, A. Perry; Stevens, Richard. 1979. Characteristics and hybridization of important Intermountain shrubs. III. Sunflower family. Res. Pap. INT-220. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 82 p. 
28. McArthur, E. Durant; Plummer, A. Perry. 1978. Biogeography and management of native western shrubs: a case study, section Tridentatae of Artemisia. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs. 2: 229-243. 
29. McArthur, E. Durant; Pope, C. Lorenzo; Freeman, D. Carl. 1981. Chromosomal studies of subgenus Tridentatae of Artemisia: evidence for autopolyploidy. American Journal of Botany. 68(5): 589-605. 
30. McArthur, E. Durant; Sanderson, Stewart C. 1999. Cytogeography and chromosome evolution of subgenus Tridentatae of Artemisia (Asteraceae). American Journal of Botany. 86(12): 1754-1775. 
31. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 1986. Composite shrubs. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 155 p. 
32. McArthur, E. Durant; Stevens, Richard. 2004. Composite shrubs. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Stevens, Richard; Shaw, Nancy L., compilers. Restoring western ranges and wildlands. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-136-vol-2. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 493-538. 
33. McArthur, E. Durant; Taylor, Jeffrey R. 2004. Artemisia pygmaea. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 75-76. 
34. McArthur, E. Durant; Van Buren, Renee; Sanderson, Stewart C.; Harper, Kimball T. 1998. Taxonomy of Sphaeromoeria, Artemisia, and Tanacetum (Compositae, Anthemideae) based on randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). The Great Basin Naturalist. 58(1): 1-11. 
35. Moss, E. H. 1940. Interxylary cork in Artemisia with a reference to its taxonomic significance. American Journal of Botany. 27(9): 762-768. 
36. Nevada Natural Heritage Program. 2003. National vegetation classification for Nevada [NVC], [Online]. Carson City, NV: Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Producer). Available: http://heritage.nv.gov/ecology/nv_nvc.htm [2005, November 3]. 
37. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; [and others]. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-volume 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. 
38. Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Frischknecht, Neil C.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1992. Long-term survival of 20 selected plant accessions in a Rush Valley, Utah, planting. Res. Note INT-403. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 7 p. 
39. Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Harper, Kimball T. 1989. Breeding systems of woody plant species in Utah. In: Wallace, Arthur; McArthur, E. Durant; Haferkamp, Marshall R., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on shrub ecophysiology and biotechnology; 1987 June 30 - July 2; Logan, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-256. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 5-22. 
40. Plummer, A. Perry. 1977. Revegetation of disturbed Intermountain area sites. In: Thames, J. C., ed. Reclamation and use of disturbed lands of the Southwest. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 302-337. 
41. Quinnild, Clayton L.; Cosby, Hugh E. 1958. Relicts of climax vegetation on two mesas in western North Dakota. Ecology. 39(1): 29-32. 
42. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. 
43. Sapsis, David B. 1990. Ecological effects of spring and fall prescribed burning on basin big sagebrush/Idaho fescue--bluebunch wheatgrass communities. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 105 p. Thesis. 
44. Scholl, Jackson P.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Shafizadeh, Fred. 1977. Involvement of volatile compounds of Artemisia in browse preference by mule deer. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 5: 291-295. 
45. Schultz, Brad; McAdoo, Kent. 2002. Common sagebrush in Nevada. Special Publication SP-02-02. Reno, NV: University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension. 9 p. Available: http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/Spec%20Pubs/SP-02-02.doc [2002, October 1]. 
46. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. 
47. Shultz, Leila M. 1986. Comparative leaf anatomy of sagebrush: ecological considerations. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 253-264. 
48. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. FEIS postfire regeneration workshop--April 12: Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. 10 p. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 
49. Tueller, Paul T. 1985. Sagebrush dominated vegetation of the Great Basin. In: Proceedings, 38th annual meeting of the Society for Range Management; [Date of conference unknown]; Salt Lake City, UT. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 24-30. 
50. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2005. PLANTS database (2005), [Online]. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/. 
51. Vincent, Dwain W. 1992. The sagebrush/grasslands of the upper Rio Puerco area, New Mexico. Rangelands. 14(5): 268-271. 
52. Walton, Todd P.; White, Richard S.; Wambolt, Carl L. 1986. Artemisia reproductive strategies: a review with emphasis on plains silver sagebrush. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Welch, Bruce L., compilers. Proceedings--symposium on the biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus; 1984 July 9-13; Provo, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-200. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 67-74. 
53. Ward, George H. 1953. Artemisia, section Seriphidium, in North America: a cytotaxonomic study. Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium. 4(6): 155-205. 
54. Weber, William A. 1987. Colorado flora: western slope. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press. 530 p. 
55. Welch, Bruce L.; McArthur, E. Durant. 1985. Big sagebrush--its taxonomy, origin, distribution and utility. In: Fisser, Herbert G., ed. Wyoming shrublands: Proceedings, 14th Wyoming shrub ecology workshop; 1985 May 29-30; Rock Springs, WY. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Department of Range Management, Wyoming Shrub Ecology Workshop: 3-19. 
56. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. 
57. West, Neil E. 1979. Basic synecological relationships of sagebrush-dominated lands in the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau. In: The sagebrush ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1978 April; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources: 33-41. 
58. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. 
59. Young, James A.; Evans, Raymond A. 1981. Demography and fire history of a western juniper stand. Journal of Range Management. 34(6): 501-505.