A perennial shrub that grows to over 7 feet in height. While it is a native plant is can be invasive, and has spread on saline alkaline flood plains to become a dominant plant species. In cold regions it is deciduous, but readily resprouts after winter or if foliage is lost due to fire. The leaves are toxic and can cause poisoning to livestock that eat them. Sheep in particular can consume a lethal dose of just 2 pounds of leaves, often leaves that have fallen from the plant.
Plants may be killed with an application of a contact or systemic herbicide, but dead plants will persist and may need to be physically removed. Abundant seed production may require the use of a pre-emergent herbicide in areas being renovated.