Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest and east in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington; Mason County, Washington to California.
Habitat: Dry, open to wooded areas, from sea level to middle elevations in the mountains.
Growth Duration: Perennial
Conservation Status: Sensitive in Washington (WANHP)
Large, evergreen shrub or small tree 5-30 m. tall, the bark thick and heavily furrowed.
Leaves alternate, the blades oblong-lanceolate, to oblong elliptic, 5-10 cm. long, entire, thick and leathery, dark green and usually glabrous above, yellow-green to golden and densely scurfy-woolly below, the base acute, the tip acuminate; petioles 1 cm. long.
Plants monoecious; staminate flowers in groups of 3 in stiff, elongate, spreading or erect catkins; perianth deeply 5- or 6-parted; stamens 8-12; pistillate flowers at the base of the staminate spikes, 1-3 in a chaffy involucre, the perianth attached to the ovary but with 6 free lobes; styles 3.
Involucre hardens into a spiny bur 1.5-2 cm. broad that contains 1-2 hard-shelled nuts about 10 mm. long.