A spreading, unisexual, sub-evergreen shrub 2 to 4 ft high; young branches and leaves covered with scurfy down, and the whole plant of a greyish-white aspect. Leaves alternate, obovate, sometimes ovate or lance-shaped; 1⁄3 to 1 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. wide; bluntish or rounded at the apex, tapered at the base. Flowers very small, yellowish green, crowded densely in the leaf-axils in small, stalkless, roundish clusters. It blossoms in June.
Native of western N. America from Oregon to New Mexico, and one of the characteristic inhabitants of the alkaline plains of that region. The male plant has, for some years, been cultivated in the rock garden at Kew; only attractive in its grey leaves.