Great Basin Naturalist


The importance and nature of vegetative reproduction was compared with seedling establishment in plains silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana Pursh. ssp. cana). Sixty-three percent of plants excavated originated from rhizomes. Sites that experienced habitat disturbance did not have a significantly different number of plants originating from vegetative reproduction than did undisturbed sites. Parent rhizomes were significantly older than taproots, which were significantly older than aboveground stems. Rhizome systems were spread 3.3 times that of plant height. Seventy-nine percent of rhizomatous daughter plants were 100 cm or less from parent plants. Up to 52 sprouts were found on one rhizome. Seedling establishment was greatest during wet growing seasons, and vegetative reproduction was greatest during dry years.