Plant of the Month, April 2020 - California Sagebrush

California Sagebrush

Artemisia californica

One of the most important foundation species of the coastal sage scrub community is the California sagebrush. The California sagebrush, Artemisia californica, is a highly aromatic native shrub that belongs to the asteraceae family- that’s right the sunflower family. It doesn’t exhibit bright flowers like most plants in this family, but if you look closely, you will find small white flowers on the top of each stalk. This native plant is also one of the most drought-tolerant that can withstand thriving with no water in the California summer months. This plant is earned the nickname “cowboy cologne” because it is told that cowboys from the wild west used this plant as a natural deodorant to freshen up. The cowboys were not the only ones the used it however. Our local indigenous Tongva community also uses this native shrub for its amazing medicinal properties. This plant was brewed in teas for respiratory sickness, and gynecological aide for menopause, menstrual cramps and child labor pain. Amidst all the social distancing, be on the lookout for this plant around your neighborhood!

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