ARTEMISIA subg. TRIDENTATAE
Difficulty in classification of Artemisia subg. Tridentatae has been complicated by transfer of North American species to Seriphidium (Y. R. Ling 1995b; W. A. Weber 1984b), a disposition not followed here. Species circumscription varies among authors, but most modern treatments recognize the species as defined here. The most useful field characteristics in sagebrush taxonomy are size of the plant, shape and lobing of the vegetative leaves, and size and shape of the flowering heads (A. A. Beetle 1960; A. H. Winward 1970). Differences in chromosome number are more useful in defining subspecies than species (E. D. McArthur et al. 1981; G. H. Ward 1953), and introgression among subspecies is common (McArthur et al. 1988; McArthur and S. C. Sanderson 1999). The following key relies on vegetative characteristics, and unless noted, descriptions of leaf size and lobing refer to the leaves found in the vegetative shoots proximal to arrays of heads. These ‘vegetative leaves’ occur in bundles, or fascicles that are part of the lateral shoots. They are subtended by an elongate leaf (termed ‘ephemeral’), which is attached to the primary stem and falls off early in the season. With the exception of Artemisia spiciformis, which retains its ephemeral leaves through most of the growing season, ephemeral leaves normally drop from the plant before the onset of flowering.