The plant is a native shrub of the Sonoran Desert, Colorado Desert, Baja California Desert, and California chaparral and woodlands habitats in the Peninsular Ranges and San Jacinto Mountains. It is found in southern California, Arizona, and Utah (U.S.), and Baja California state (Mexico).

Jojoba is endemic to North America, and occupies an area of approximately 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi) between latitudes 25° and 31° North and between longitudes 109° and 117° West.