Wax currant is a compact but erect, many-branched, fragrant shrub that grows about four feet tall. The waxy, gray-green leaves are fan-shaped, generally in three to five less-defined lobes with gently scalloped edges.
Bitterbrush is an extensively-branched, deciduous shrub that grows up to six feet tall. It produces many small three-lobed leaves, similar to those of sagebrush but lacking the gray, woolly hair, and brighter and more of an olive-green in color. The leaves are so tiny that the outline of the shrub’s limbs is distinctive.
Gray rabbitbrush is very common in the Sage Hills. It rivals sagebrush in its wide distribution, but has a more limited range, requiring somewhat moister conditions and sandier soils. It is a deciduous shrub, with long narrow leaves and a height of two to four feet.
Three-tip sagebrush is a rounded, freely branching, evergreen shrub. Its leaves are gray-green, long, and deeply cleft into three lobes. The stems are a smooth pale gray. Three-tip sagebrush carries the distinctive sage fragrance, especially when wet. The flowers are green and inconspicuous.
Big sagebrush is a strongly scented, woody evergreen shrub. It is the most abundant shrub in the shrub-steppe because it has adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. It usually grows about four feet tall, but can grow taller than ten feet in areas with deep soil and more moisture.
Western serviceberry derives its common name not from “serving” but from Sorbus, the Latin name for mountain-ash, because its leaves look much like mountain-ash. It is a large, variable-sized, common shrub in the Sage Hills. In spring, it bears many attractive and fragrant white flowers.