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An evergreen shrub of rather open habit 6 to 8 ft high; stems lax when young, clothed with shredding bark when old; young shoots and leaves covered with a dense, grey felt. Leaves of various sizes, crowded on the stems in clusters; wedge-shaped, tapering gradually from the apex (which is three-toothed and truncate) to the stalk; 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. long, 1⁄10 to 1⁄4 in. wide at the apex. Flower-heads small, yellowish, 1⁄4 in. long, supported by grey-felted bracts; produced in October in long, slender panicles, more or less arching or pendulous, and 12 to 18 in. long. No other hardy shrub in cultivation has a leaf similar to this in colour and shape.
Native of the western United States; introduced to Kew in 1895. When rubbed, the plant emits a strong but pleasant odour, which moisture of itself appears to release, for after a shower, or still more after a wet day, the air for several yards round a group of plants is filled with this aromatic scent. The species is usually a great favourite with those who cultivate it on this account. This shrub is one of those found in the dry alkaline districts of western N. America, which are known collectively as ‘sage brush’, and cover immense areas with a grey, monotonous vegetation. In our gardens it makes a very pleasing feature, not only for its fragrance, but also for the silvery grey foliage, which provides an agreeable contrast to ordinary green shrubs. It can be increased by cuttings made of half-ripened wood, and placed under a bell-glass in the propagating frame. But it does not take root with the readiness and certainty of most of its allies.