Description from Flora of China
Shrubs small or subshrubs, to 25(-40) cm; stems often procumbent; branchlets grayish green or more rarely yellowish green, apex often curved or twisted. Leaves opposite, connate for 1/3-2/3 their length, free part triangular, apex obtuse or subacute. Pollen cones solitary or in clusters of 3 at apex of short branchlets, often pedunculate; bracts in 4 pairs; staminal column ca. 2 mm, exserted, with 7 or 8 sessile or shortly stipitate anthers. Seed cones terminal in short branchlets or axillary, narrowly ovoid; bracts in 3 or 4 pairs, with narrow, membranous margins, apical pair connate for ca. 1/3 their length, red and fleshy at maturity; integument tube 1-1.5 mm, straight. Seeds usually 2, dark brown, glossy, ovoid, 4-5 × 2-3 mm, smooth. Pollination May-Jun, seed maturity Jul. 2n = ?24*, 28*, ?36*.
It is not certain if the plants from China and Kazakhstan are the same as those from Europe.
Grasslands, sandy places, rocky mountain slopes; below 900 m. Xinjiang [Kazakhstan; C and W Asia, S Europe]