Often confused with Artemisia rothrockii, A. spiciformis has been recognized only recently as a widespread, high-elevation sagebrush of late-lying snowfields. Molecular analysis has not yet determined the degree to which this species intergrades with A. cana subsp. viscidula and A. tridentata subsp. vaseyana, the presumed parents of this putative hybrid. Because snow-field sagebrush produces fertile seeds and forms a stable community type, it is treated here as a distinct species.