Biennials or perennials, (10-)30-80(-150) cm, faintly aromatic; taprooted, caudices branched. Stems usually 1-5, turning reddish brown, (often ribbed) tomentose or glabrous. Leaves persistent or deciduous, mostly basal; basal blades 4-12 cm, cauline gradually reduced, 2-4 × 0.5-1.5 cm, 2-3-pinnately lobed, lobes linear to narrowly oblong, apices acute, faces densely to sparsely white-pubescent. Heads (pedunculate) in (mostly leafless) paniculiform arrays. Involucres broadly turbinate, 2.5-3(-5) × 2-3.5(-7) mm. Phyllaries (margins scarious) glabrous or villous-tomentose. Florets: pistillate 5-20; functionally staminate 12-30; corollas pale yellow, sparsely hairy or glabrous. Cypselae oblong-lanceoloid, somewhat compressed, 0.8-1 mm, faintly nerved, glabrous. Artemisia campestris varies; each morphologic form grades into another. The present circumscription is conservative in that only three subspecies are recognized; the subspecies usually can be separated geographically as well as morphologically. Populations in western North America consist primarily of subsp. pacifica; east of the continental divide, plants are assigned to subsp. canadensis in northern latitudes and to subsp. caudata in southern latitudes.