Sage (Cratystylis subspinescens) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Tuesday, 13 July 2021 - 4:33pm

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Sage (Cratystylis subspinescens) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands.

This page provides a summary of the plant's value for pastoralism. Pastoral lessees and station managers can use this information to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

Sage is a desirable species that has a tendency to occur as the dominant shrub in areas preferred by livestock. Where these stands occur in salt lake and saline river communities, it generally indicates that pasture has been overused, but in saline hill pastures and basaltic hills, a strong presence of sage indicates good pasture condition. It also indicates good pasture condition where it occurs in saltbush-dominated communities. It declines if heavily grazed, but can persist in favourable niches; however, continuous heavy grazing will remove sage from these refuges.

Forage value

Sage is not as palatable as the saltbushes it grows with, but where livestock water is saline, sage is preferred over saltbush.


Heavy soils, gilgai, saline hills

General description

Sage is a dense shrub that can reach 2m tall under optimal conditions. The ends of the twigs resemble blunt thorns. The greyish-green leaves are smooth and up to 1cm long. They give off a sage-like smell when crushed. The leaves are not succulent and the young shoots are often a pale greenish yellow. The flowers are small, white and daisy-like, up to 5mm across. The spent flowers splay open to expose feathery, thistle-like seeds.