A low stiff shrub, to 1 m tall. Shoots glaucous, glabrous or lightly pubescent, sometimes with tiny spines; older bark red then ultimately whitish, shredding. Leaves lanceoate to oblanceolate, entire, 6–15 × 2–5 mm, thick in texture, pale green to glaucous; petiole 1–3 mm. Flowers in May–June, singly or paired in axils or in few-flowered terminal racemes, very fragrant. Calyx 5-lobed, glaucous; lobes deltoid, c. 1 mm long; corolla 11–13 mm, pink, narrowly tubular and 3–5 times as long as the lobes, glabrous, with one small nectary at the base. Stamens as long as the tube, anthers nearly sessile, filaments scarcely free. Fruit white, 8–10 mm side; nutlets 4.5–5 × 2.5–3 mm. (Jones 1940).
Distribution Mexico Sonora, Chihuahua, Baja California. United States Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah.
Habitat Rocky foothills and canyons in pine woods, from 1200–2200 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 6
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
The Desert Snowberry is a distinctive species, both in the chaparral and sagebrush habitats in which it grows and its long and slender, vividly-pink and strongly scented flowers (Jones 1940). Set among the small greyish leaves these form the most attractive floral display in the genus; however this is a plant with special growth requirements which may never have been introduced to gardens, even around its native range.