Old Man Sage (Old-man Sagebrush; Sand Sage; Sand Sagebrush)
Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora - Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Aromatic shrubs; 1.5' to 4.9' (5 to 15 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate or basal; simple; entire; threadlike; has hairs – silvery; 0.24” to 3.2” (0.6 to 8 cm) long, 0.012” to 0.06” (0.3 to 1.5 mm) wide
Flowers: disk flowers, no ray flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). 3 to 9 tiny yellowish flowers in a cluster that hangs downward; perfect (or sometimes the central ones sterile)
Pollinators: wind (can cause hayfever)
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: September, October, November
Habitat in Arches National Park: sandy areas in desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road mile 4 to18, Windows, Delicate Arch road
Other: This genus is named for Artemisia, queen of Caria (ca 400 B.C.), a botanist and scholar, who might have been named for the Greek goddess Artemis. Caria is now a part of Turkey . The species name, “filifolia”, means “threadlike leaves”.
Sagebrush species are associated with mycorrhizal fungus in the genus Glomus which may be necessary for the successful establishment of sagebrush seedlings.
This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.