A long-lived perennial, deciduous, evergreen, shrub growing 1 to 5 feet. The leaves are spatula shaped and fleshy, with a gray-green surface. The green flowers are clustered with the male and female growing on separate plants blooming April to July. A thin, smooth fruit encloses the greenish-white or reddish seed and has wing on the back or midrib. Establishes from wind or gravity-dispersed the winged seed and vegetatively by sprouting after top-killing disturbances such as fire. Native to dry plains, deserts, and foothills and preferring sandy soils but will grow in alkaline, limestone, gravelly, and dry, heavy, clay soils. It is highly tolerant of drought and fairly tolerant of grazing and fire. Found across the western United States.