Synonym: Picrothamnus desertorum
Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Low shrubs; 1.97” to 1.6' (0.5 to 5 dm) tall; somewhat thorny; pungently aromatic
Leaves: alternate; the leaf blade is palmately 3 to 5 cleft; 0.16” to 0.8” (0.4 to 2 cm) long; very hairy
Flowers: corollas of disk flowers only - 5 to 13 disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). The flower heads are yellow and hairy and made up of 6 to 20 small flowers or more.
Pollinators: other Artemisia species are pollinated by wind
Fruits: achene (hairy) – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities in silty, clayey, or gravelly substrates (often saline)
Location seen: Park Avenue, Delicate Arch road or Delicate Arch trail, Cache Valley, Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch
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 genus name, “Picrothamnus”, comes from “picro” which means “bitter” and “thamnus” which means “a shrub”. The species name, “spinescens”, means “becoming spiny”. The species name, “desertorum”, means “of the deserts”.
Budsage has small seeds - approximately 641,250 seeds per ounce (2,250 per gram), and germination is low. It has very poor dispersal partly because the seed lacks appendages for airborne transport by the wind or for attachment to animals. Most seeds fall beneath the parent plant and move a maximum of 3 feet (0.91m) per generation. Flower heads fall from the plant intact without breaking apart to release the seeds and sometimes the seed germinates while still in the head.
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.