Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is a critical part of life on the prairie, especially when there isn’t much for wildlife to munch on above the snow. The plant’s evergreen and protein-rich leaves are a favorite year-round meal for pronghorn and the only thing that Greater sage grouse eat throughout the winter. Animals like elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, jackrabbits, and nearly 100 different bird species also rely on the sagebrush sea that includes American Prairie Reserve. Lucky for them, this hardy shrub can live for hundreds of years and survive the harshest conditions of the northern plains. What a gift!
For its human admirers, sagebrush offers a strong and invigorating scent that can be enjoyed in any season, but you’ll only discover sagebrush flowers – compact clusters of tiny blossoms – in late summer and early fall. We hope that you’ll join us on the Reserve in 2016 to experience all of the wonder and joy that can be found by spending time in nature and to explore the park that wouldn’t be possible without people like you.
Photo by Diane Hargreaves