The sagebrush flower is a small blossom that bursts forth from a woody, aromatic shrub called artemisia tridentata – which is better known as the common sagebrush. The common sagebrush belongs to the genus artemisia; is a member of the large asteraceae family; and is native to the dry climates of the western United States, as well as several parts of Mexico and Canada. Sagebrush flowers develop near the tips of branches in thick clusters. They are long and tubular in shape, and come in shades of bright yellow and rich cream. The leaves of this plant are coarse, wedge-like, and are covered in a silvery dusting of hair.
The sagebrush flower is now widely known as the state flower of Nevada; however, it was not until 1917 that the notion arose, and not until 1967 that it became official. Since then, sagebrush flowers have been fully adopted by the state. This is evidenced by the nickname, “The Sagebrush State,” their appearance on the state flag, as well as on commemorative quarters. In addition to being a cultural icon, the sagebrush flower is also connected with spirituality and healing. Although the fresh plants are said to have a pungent, sickly-sweet odor, many people enjoy the scent of the flower essence. The use of this essence is said to strip the spirit of mental and emotional baggage, create a sense of self awareness, and clear the path for re-birth and enlightenment. Sagebrush is also frequently used for the ancient practice of smudging. This ceremony is said to drive out wicked spirits, negative emotions and influences, and keep the same wicked spirits from ever re-entering the space. In addition to the spiritual connotations of the ceremony, the burning of artemisia tridentata can also help combat airborne bacteria, and clear out foul odors that can collect over time.
Much like common sage, the sagebrush flower is associated with the symbolism of skill and wisdom. Although these blossoms are uncommon as gifts, they can easily be mixed with other, larger blooms. In addition to making a fantastic filler – much like baby’s breath – they can also make for a great symbolic gesture. For instance, they may be given within a bouquet intended for a recent graduate, or someone on their way to a new career. You might also consider giving them in a gift basket or as a dried wreath.