Description from Flora of China
Shrubs knotty branched (crooked), dioecious, to 1 m tall, spinose. Branchlets alternate, red-brown, puberulent or subglabrous, terminating in an obtuse spine. Leaves alternate or fascicled on short shoots; stipules subulate, persistent; petiole 2-3 mm; leaf blade abaxially yellow-green, adaxially gray-green, elliptic or oblong, rarely lanceolate-elliptic, 1-2.2 × 0.3-1.2 cm, papery, abaxially finely pubescent at base, adaxially glabrous, with stout primary vein and 3 or 4 pairs of lateral veins, primary vein prominent on both sides, lateral veins inconspicuous, base cuneate, margin entire or above middle inconspicuously serrulate, apex obtuse. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers few fascicled on short shoots, 4-merous. Pedicels 2-3 mm. Petals present. Female flowers yellow-green; sepals ovate, 3-veined; petals oblong-ovate; rudimentary stamens present; ovary globose, 3-loculed; styles cleft to half. Drupe black at maturity, globose, ca. 6 mm in diam., with 2 or 3 stones, with persistent calyx tube at base; fruiting pedicel ca. 3 mm. Seeds brown, shiny, oblong-ovoid, abaxially with cartilaginous margined, shallow furrow for 4/5 of length. Fl. Apr-May, fr. Jun-Aug.
According to the original description, the leaves are entire, but plants from Xinjiang differ in having sparsely crenulate leaves of slightly thin texture.
Forests, thickets, dry pebbly and stony mountain slopes; 1000-2000 m. W Xinjiang [Russia].