Nevada State Flower Sagebrush

Fast Facts

  • Proclaimed the state flower in 1917.
  • Botanical name: Artemisia tridentata.
  • Nevada, the “Silver State,” is also known as the “Sagebrush State.”
  • Sagebrush can be found on the official Nevada state flag as well as on the commemorative Nevada quarter minted in 2006.
  • · Sagebrush Trivia: The name of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ student newspaper is The Nevada Sagebrush.
  • Sagebrush can be found on the official Nevada state flag as well as on the commemorative Nevada quarter minted in 2006.
  • Nevada Flower Delivery

It may come as something of a surprise to “greenhorns from Back East,” but sagebrush, the Nevada state flower, does a lot more than pepper the deserts and rangelands of the Western States with low, woody shrubs.

For one thing, its flowers bring welcome color to the region, especially the central basin of Nevada, from late summer into the fall. It’s an important source of winter food for sheep and cattle since it keeps its leaves all year round, and native tribes used its aromatic leaves as medicine and wove its bark into mats.

Growing in areas where other plants cannot, the Nevada state flower can go as tall as 12 feet high, with its silvery gray to brown bark crowded with gray leaves and flowers in muted yellow. It can even be found within the city limits of Las Vegas , Reno and Carson City, where it will grow to its more common height of 3 to 6 feet tall.

So abundant is sagebrush in some areas of Nevada that it actually slowed down the famous cattle drives of the Old West as herds had to pick their way through the densely growing brush. And it’s largely responsible for the adoption of chaps as daily working wear by cowboys to protect their legs as they also picked their way through.

Do not get sagebrush confused with the common sage that you’ll find on your spice shelf. While the Nevada state flower has a strong fragrance, its taste is bitter and unpleasant. That’s probably why animals let it be until winter when other pickings are slim. Fortunately for the pronghorn antelope, which rely greatly on sagebrush, it is a quite nutritious plant. Only cattle require other additional feed during the winter.

Also known as Big Sagebrush, Common Sagebrush, Blue Sagebrush or Black Sagebrush, it’s well-adapted to desert life, with fine silvery hairs on the leaves to keep it cool.

It’s the way the yellow sagebrush flowers light up vast reaches of Nevada that inspired the state to adopt it as the Nevada state flower. The only things brighter than sagebrush flowers in Nevada are the snow in the High Sierras and the lights of Las Vegas.

Nevada State Flower Sources:

http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/wildflowers1/page36.html

http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/nv_intro.htm