Perennials, 20-80 (rarely to 120 in desert washes) cm, aromatic (rhizomatous). Stems relatively few to relatively numerous, erect, gray-green, simple or widely branched, hairy. Leaves cauline, uniformly gray-green, green, or white, or bicolor (white and green); blades linear to broadly elliptic, 1.5-11 × 0.5-4 cm, entire or lobed to relatively deeply pinnatifid, faces hairy. Heads (erect to nodding, peduncles 0 or 2-5 mm) in congested to open (widely branched) arrays. Involucres campanulate or turbinate, (1-)2-4(-5) × 2-5(-8) mm. Phyllaries (gray-green), lanceolate to ovate or obovate (margins narrowly hyaline), densely tomentose. Florets: pistillate 5-12; bisexual 6-45; corollas yellow, sometimes red-tinged, 1.5-2.8 mm, glabrous. Cypselae ellipsoid ca. 0.5 mm, (obscurely nerved) glabrous. 2n = 18, 36, 54.
Rhizomatous perennial 3-10 dm, simple to the infl, the stem ±white-tomentose at least above; lvs lanceolate or lance-elliptic, 3-10 cm, entire or irregularly toothed to coarsely few-lobed or deeply parted, the undivided portion to 1(-1.5) cm wide, persistently white- tomentose on both sides or becoming glabrous above; invol 2.5-3.5 mm; disk-cors 1.9-2.8 mm; 2n=18, 36. July-Oct. Prairies, dry ground, and waste places. A widespread, variable sp. of w. U.S. and n. Mex., native e. as far as Ill., and occasionally intr. eastward. Most of our plants are var. ludoviciana, with entire to coarsely few-lobed lvs and a mostly compact and elongate infl. (A. gnaphalodes, the form with the lvs persistently tomentose above; A. herriotii; A. pabularis) Var. mexicana (Willd.) Fernald, with many of the lvs deeply parted and with a strong tendency toward a more diffuse, often leafy infl, is chiefly southwestern, occasionally reaching our range as an introduction. (A. mexicana) Other vars. occur westward.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Heil et al 2013, McDougall 1973.
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herbs arising from rhizomes; stems 20-100 cm tall, glabrous to tomentose. Leaves: Alternate and sessile, mostly cauline; the blades entire, shallowly lobed (most often), or deeply pinnatifid, 1-9 cm long, up to 2 cm wide, usually uniformly tomentose but can be floccose or glabrate on upper surface; color is variable and can be gray-green, green, white, or bicolor with green on the upper surface and white below. Flowers: Flower heads disciform, sessile or drooping on peduncles, arranged in usually compact panicles; involucre (the ring of bracts surrounding the flower head) 2-4 mm long, usually campanulate, the bracts (phyllaries) densely tomentose or glabrous, with scarious (papery) margins; florets all discs, with yellow corollas, sometimes red-tinged, including 6-45 bisexual florets surrounded by 5-12 pistillate florets. Fruits: Achenes glabrous, ellipsoid, about 0.5 mm. Ecology: Found in a variety of habitats including exposed slopes, forests, woodlands, and sandy floodplains from 2,500-8,500 ft (760-2590 m); flowers August-November. Distribution: All of N. Amer. including every state in the US; south to C. Amer. Notes: A common but variable species of many North American regions and climates. Distinguished by its perennial, herbaceous growth form; aromatic, gray-green foliage often covered in a mat of tangled hairs; the leaves sometimes simple but most often divided into lobes 0.5-1 cm wide (thinner lobes in other local Artemisia spp.), each lobe often with a point at the end. Easily confused with A. carruthii but leaves are larger with wider, more robust lobes (vs. smaller leaves with thin linear lobes in A. carruthii). These two species may hybridize. Five subspecies are found in AZ: subsp. albula; subsp. ludoviciana; subsp. mexicana; subsp. redolens (rare); and subsp. sulcata. Characters distinguishing among the subspecies are related to leaf shape, color, and pubescence. The species- hardiness, wide range of native habitats, and -mat-like- growth form make it potentially valuable in soil and vegetation restoration efforts. It is a host plant for Painted Lady butterfly. Ethnobotany: Branches used in sweathouses. Used throughout the Intermountain west as a medicinal bitter, a purifying and cleansing plant, and for making towels. Etymology: Artemisia is named for Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt and namesake of Artemisia, queen of Anatolia; ludoviciana means of or from Louisiana (referring specifically to the Louisiana Purchase). Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015