Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades in Washington; Washington south to California, east to Colorado.
Habitat: Foothills and desert valleys, often in alkaline soil.
Conservation Status: Not of concern
Freely-branched, rounded, grayish-barked, dioecious shrub up to 1.5 m. tall, often with spiny twigs, the younger leaves and branches pubescent.
Leaves alternate, oblanceolate, 1-2.5 cm. long, entire, gradually narrowed to a short petiole.
Staminate flowers 2-5 per cluster in the axil of a single bract, the bracts reduced upward, the perianth 4-lobed, exceeding the 4 stamens and enclosing them, 1.5-2 mm. long; pistillate flowers in small clusters in the axils of bracts, each with a pair of fused bracteoles elliptic in outline with a stipe-like base; style 2-lobed, protruding from the bracteoles.
Bracteoles ultimately become greatly enlarged, 8-15 mm. broad, enclosing the fruit, strongly compressed, wing-margined, whitish to red.