Stems: spreading, not rooting at nodes; branchlets yellow-green, terete, smooth, rigid, spinescent, ± pubescent.
Leaves: evergreen, alternate, not clustered; stipules thin, deciduous; petioles to 6 mm.
Leaf blades: ovate to elliptic, usually 1--2.5 x 0.6--1.5 cm, 3-veined, bases rounded, margins not revolute, entire, sometimes glandular-denticulate, tips acute to obtuse, abaxially pale gray-green, glabrous or slightly pubescent, especially along veins, adaxially light to gray-green, glaucous, plane to conduplicate, glabrous or pubescent.
Inflorescence: axillary, panicle-like dense clusters, 1.3--3.8 cm.
Fruits: trihedral, distinctly 3-lobed, 4--5 mm broad, roughened, slightly sticky when young; valves +/- crested.
Cytology: n = 12 (M. A. Nobs in H. E. McMinn, 1942)
Flowering: early spring--early summer.
Habitat: Rocky ridges and open pine forests; 900-2900 m.
Range: Calif., Nev., Oreg.; Mexico in Baja California.