Description from Flora of China
Anabasis ammodendron C. A. Meyer in Ledebour, Fl. Altaic. 1: 375. 1829; Arthrophytum ammodendron (C. A. Meyer) Litvinov; A. ammodendron var. aphyllum Minkwitz; Haloxylon aphyllum (Minkwitz) Iljin.
Trees small, 1-9 m tall. Trunk to 50 cm in diam. at ground level; bark gray-white; wood hard, brittle; older branches gray-brown or light yellow-brown, usually fissured annular; annual branches obliquely spreading or pendulous, long, thin, internodes 0.4-1.2 cm × ca. 1.5 mm. Leaves slightly spreading, scale-like, broadly triangular, apex obtuse, awnless; leaf axil cottony. Flowers borne on dwarf, lateral spurs of previous year’s branches; bractlets navicular, broadly ovate, nearly equaling perianth, margin membranous. Perianth segments oblong, portion above abaxial wing slightly incurved, surrounding utricle, apex obtuse; abaxial wing borne ca. 1/3 of distance from apex, obliquely spreading or horizontal, kidney-shaped to suborbicular, 5-8 mm wide, base cordate to cuneate, margin undulate or erose. Disk obscure. Utricle yellow-brown; pericarp not adnate to seed. Seed black, ca. 2.5 mm in diam.; embryo dark green, spiral, abaxially convex, turbinate, adaxially plane. Fl. May-Jul, fr. Sep-Oct.
Dunes, saline-alkaline deserts, sandy places on riversides. W Gansu, Nei Mongol, NW Ningxia, N Qinghai, Xinjiang [Mongolia; C Asia].