A shrub or small deciduous tree growing to 12 feet tall. Severe drought, changes of climate, and the poor soil may cause the growth to be stunted. The bark is grayish in color, and can be scaly, with twigs that are spur like and a bright reddish brown. The single small dry fruits have spiral, somewhat silky plumes 1-_ to 2 long, with feathery tails on the end. There are clusters of 2-3 apetalus flowers, each have five broad-triangular sepals and many stamens, blooming from March to June. It is fire resistiant sprouting new growth quickly from its roots. Most common in the California Chaparral Mountains and dry, rocky slopes from South Dakota to Mexico.