E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Artemisia campestris L.
northern wormwood (field sagewort)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66536)

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Distribution of Artemisia campestris
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Artemisia campestris ssp. pacifica

Species Information

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Biennial, or more often perennial, scarcely aromatic herb from a taproot; stems erect, several to numerous, glabrous to hairy, 0.1-1.0 m tall.
Mainly basal, 2-3 times pinnately cut or 3-parted, 2-12 cm long, including the stalks, the segments linear or linear-filiform, seldom more than 2 mm wide, glabrous to more often long-hairy, reduced above.
Heads disciform, numerous in a branched or narrow inflorescence, involucres hemispheric 2-4.5 mm tall; involucral bracts glabrous to densely long-hairy; receptacles glabrous; female flowers 8-20, disk flowers 10-25.
Achenes glabrous.
The taxonomy of this circumpolar species remains unclear, especially in North America. Many of the regional floras disagree with respect to the number of taxa that should be recognized (Douglas 1995). The two subspecies recognized for BC may be separated, although sometimes with difficulty, as follows:

1. Plants usually 10-40 cm tall; involucres 3-4.5 mm tall.......................ssp borealis (Pall) Hall & Clem.

1. Plants usally 50-100 cm tall; involucres 2-3 mm tall......................ssp. pacifica (Nutt.) Hall & Clem.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, rocky slopes and open forets in all vegetation zones; common throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent on S Vancouver Island and adjacent mainland, absent in WC BC and the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Artemisia campestris

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 225 855 2158
Slope Gradient (%) 0 24 95
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
4 196 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(4), BG(118), BWBS(7), ESSF(7), ICH(1), IDF(118), MS(5), PP(37), SBPS(2), SBS(2), SWB(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Artemisia campestris var. purshii subsp. borealis (Bess.) Cronq.
Artemisia campestris subsp. Canadensis [Michx.] Scoggan pro parte

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References