Friday, April 14, 2006

About Sagebrush

The surrounding areas of shrub-steppe are adorned with beautiful, gnarled branches of sagebrush that have a silvery green leaf. Although I once took this lovely shrub for granted, I am learning to enjoy it's beauty more and more. Sagebrush is a woody shrub and it's three lobed leaves stay green year around. In the late summer it blooms with small, yellow flowers. Most sagebrush grow to be about 4' tall, although with the proper soil and moisture conditions they can grow up to 10'. After a rain, the sagebrush can be identified by their sharp, but not unpleasant, odor.

Sagebrush is important for local wildlife. The nests of sage sparrows, sage thrashers, and loggerhead shrikes can be found in the plant's branches. The ground below the is a safe place for larks, burrowing owls, sage grouse, and long-billed curlews to nest. The pygmy rabbit and sagebrush vole depend upon this lovely plant as habitat for cover.

Some say that the seeds of the sagebrush are edible and that chewing the leaves aids in digestion. I have never tried this, but know that sagebrush has always been an important plant in local, Native American lore and culture.

Although sagebrush looks hardy, it is a fragile plant that needs to be protected from over-population grown and development. It does not transplant easily and has been known to take more than forty years to re-establish itself after fires have destroyed it's original stand.

The sagebrush in this photo was taken along the Columbia River in Oregon state.


  1. Is this the same sage that is so important to Native Americans ?
    It looks the same from the picture.

  2. Yes it is, Patricia.


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