This is a large shrub to small tree, common in chaparral. Leaves are somewhat reminiscent of live oak leaves. They are tough, colored green above, but much paler and tomentose beneath. They usually have strongly wavy margins, often rolled under. Coast silk tassel is dioecious (separate male and female plants). The male plant’s catkins are much longer than ones on the female plant. The slender, gray-white male catkins contrast with the shorter, silvery-gray female ones, with their firm, hairy flowers. Some have observed the female flowers seem to have eyelashes, which might help to remember the difference! On cultivated forms of this plant, male catkins tend to be much longer than those found in wild plants.