A. l. subsp. albula, Spring Mountains, southern Nevada, elevation around 1,050 m

Artemisia ludoviciana is a North American species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae, known by several common names, including silver wormwood, western mugwort, Louisiana wormwood, white sagebrush, and gray sagewort.[2][3]

Ludoviciana is the Latinized version of the word Louisiana.[4]


Artemisia ludoviciana is a rhizomatous perennial growing to heights of 0.3–1.0 m (0.98–3.28 ft). The stems bear linear leaves up to 11 cm long. The stems and foliage are covered in woolly gray or white hairs. The top of the stem is occupied by a narrow inflorescence of many nodding (hanging) flower heads. Each small head is a cup of hairy phyllaries surrounding a center of yellowish disc florets and is about 0.5 cm wide. The fruit is a minute achene. Flowers bloom July to October.[5]

Distribution and habitat

The plant is native to North America where it is widespread across most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.[2][3][6][7] Some botanists suggest that eastern United States populations have been introduced from the western and central part of the continent.[8] Its habitats include dry slopes, canyons, open pine woods, and dry prairies.[5]


Subspecies include:[1][3][9]

  • A. l. subsp. albula (Wooton) D.D.Keck—deserts from California and Colorado to Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja California
  • A. l. subsp. candicans (Rydb.) D.D.KeckRocky Mountains and Cascade Range from Alberta, British Columbia to California, Colorado
  • A. l. subsp. incompta (Nutt.) D.D.Keck—mountains from Alberta, British Columbia, to Mexico
  • A. l. subsp. ludoviciana—western and central United States and western Canada
  • A. l. subsp. mexicana (Willd. ex Spreng.) D.D.Keck— Mexico as far south as Puebla; United States as far north as Colorado and Missouri
  • A. l. subsp. redolens (A.Gray) D.D.KeckDurango, Chihuahua, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
  • A. l. subsp. sulcata (Rydb.) D.D.Keck—Chihuahua, Sonora, Arizona


Native Americans

Native Americans use the species as a medicinal plant, a source of fiber for crafting household items, and for ceremonial purposes.[10] The Dakota people use this plant in smudging rituals to protect against maleficent spirits. The Apache, Chiricahua and Mescalero use it for spices,[11] while Blackfoot tribe use it as a drug for dermatological.[12] Gros Ventre also use it for skin curing and as medicine against cold, because it is also antipyretic.[13]


A. ludoviciana is cultivated as an ornamental plant.[14] Being rhizomatous, it can spread aggressively in some climates and gardens. It grows in dry to medium moisture and well-drained soil. It requires full sun.[4]

Popular cultivars include 'Valerie Finnis' and 'Silver Queen'. Both are hardy to USDA zone 4. 'Valerie Finnis' has held the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit since 1993.[15]


  1. ^ a b The Plant List Artemisia ludoviciana Nutt.
  2. ^ a b National Plant Germplasm System−GRIN.gov: Artemisia ludoviciana Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Flora of North America Vol. 19, 20 and 21 Page 527 Silver wormwood, white or silver sage Artemisia ludoviciana Nuttall, Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 2: 143. 1818.
  4. ^ a b "Artemisia ludoviciana - Plant Finder". www.missouribotanicalgarden.org.
  5. ^ a b "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". www.wildflower.org. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  6. ^ Berendsohn, W.G. & A.E. Araniva de González. 1989. Listado básico de la Flora Salvadorensis: Dicotyledonae, Sympetalae (pro parte): Labiatae, Bignoniaceae, Acanthaceae, Pedaliaceae, Martyniaceae, Gesneriaceae, Compositae. Cuscatlania 1(3): 290–1–290–13
  7. ^ Turner, B. L. 1996. The Comps of Mexico: A systematic account of the family Asteraceae, vol. 6. Tageteae and Athemideae. Phytologia Memoirs 10: i–ii, 1–22, 43–93
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program: county distribution map Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  9. ^ Keck, David Daniels 1946. A revision of the Artemisia vulgaris complex in North America. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Series 4, 25(17): 421-468 descriptions, line drawings, range maps of several species
  10. ^ University of Michigan @ Dearborn, Native American Ethnobotany of Artemisia ludoviciana Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  11. ^ Castetter, Edward F. and M. E. Opler (1936). Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest III. The Ethnobiology of the Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache. Vol. 4. University of New Mexico Bulletin. p. 47.
  12. ^ Hellson, John C. (1974). Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians, Ottawa. Mercury Series. National Museums of Canada. pp. 17–124.
  13. ^ Hart, Jeff (1992). Montana Native Plants and Early Peoples, Helena. Montana Historical Society Press. p. 44.
  14. ^ Las Pilitas Horticulture Database: Artemisia ludoviciana (White Sagebrush) Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Artemisia ludoviciana 'Valerie Finnis'". Retrieved 23 February 2020.

External links