A deciduous, semi-evergreen shrub growing 2 to 5 feet. The bark is gray; twigs are pale green, becoming yellow with age with tiny scales leaves at the stem joints. The individual flowers male and female grow on separate shrubs and bloom in early spring. Seed cones are brown herbaceous and usually grow in pairs. Prefers full sun with well-drained sandy, and loamy soils. It is drought and lime tolerant and grows well in any alkaline soil. Common on dry, rocky slopes and hills, rarely in sandy flat areas. Found throughout Nevada and into the surrounding states.