Juniperus ashei is a drought-tolerant evergreen shrub or small tree, native to northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States north to southern Missouri; the largest areas are in central Texas, where extensive stands occur. It grows up to 33' (10 m) tall, rarely 49' (15 m), and provides erosion control and year-round shade for wildlife and livestock.
The feathery foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2 to 5 mm (0.079 to 0.197 in) long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. It is a dioecious species, with separate male and female plants. The seed cones are round, 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) long, and soft, pulpy and berry-like, green at first, maturing purple about 8 months after pollination. They contain 1-2 seeds, which are dispersed when birds eat the cones and pass the seeds in their droppings. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, yellow, turning brown after pollen release in December to February.