Shrubs 5–10 dm. Stems prostrate to spreading. Leaves: petiole 1 mm; blade ovate, elliptic, or oblanceolate, 8–34 × 3–12 mm, base cuneate, margins serrate, apex rounded to acute. Inflorescences 1–3-flowered. Flowers: sepals obtuse-deltate, 0.8–1 mm; petals ovate, 1–1.2 mm; filaments 2 times longer than anthers. Capsules obovoid, 4–7 × 2–4 mm. Seeds dark brown to black, obovoid; aril white.
Phenology: Flowering spring–summer; fruiting summer.
Habitat: Shaded forests in mountains.
Elevation: 600–3400 m.
Alta., B.C., Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.Mex., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo., Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas).
The leaves of Paxistima myrsinites vary in size and shape with elevation and latitude, but the variation is continuous and no differences to separate infraspecific taxa have been found.
Paxistima myrsinites was reported from Bexar County, Texas, based on a specimen collected by E. H. Wilkinson in 1900 (C. L. Lundell 1942–1969, vol. 2; D. S. Correll and M. C. Johnston 1970). However, it was not reported from Texas by B. L. Turner et al. (2003) and no appropriate habitat occurs in that county.