California and south Oregon
Chaparral, coniferous woodland, rocky hillsides, from 4,000 to 11,000 feet
Alternate, elliptic, up to 4 inches long, tapered at the base and rounded at the tip, on short stalks
Chrysolepis sempervirens is found in the mountains of southern California, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades and the Klamath Mountains, extending into Oregon. Plants are shrubs, usually up to nine feet tall but sometimes twice this, rounded in outline, with slender, woody branches bearing smooth, thin bark, and hairless, short-stalked leaves that are green on top, often golden or brownish underneath.
The inflorescence is a catkin-like cluster containing both pistillate and staminate flowers, while the fruits consist of between one and three nuts enclosed by a spherical shell lined by sharp spines, overall around 1.5 inches in diameter.