Stems diffusely branched from bases, some laterals ending in spinelike tips. Leaf blades or lobes orbiculate to linear, 1-5(-20) × 1-5(-20) mm. Phyllaries whitish green. Cypselae 1-1.5 mm. 2n = 18, 36. Flowering Apr-Jun. Arid slopes and valleys, sands or clays, sometimes saline soils; 1800-2200 m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., N.Mex., Oreg., Utah, Wyo. Budsage provides nutritious forage for wildlife and domestic sheep in winter; it can be poisonous or fatal to calves and lambs, if consumed in great quantity during spring months.