Sparse, coarse hairs cover the green leaves and reddish stems of camissonia contorta
, a small-flowed species inhabiting the five westernmost states. Hairs may be glandular. Leaves form along the stems rather than at the base; they are linear in shape, around one inch long, with tiny serrations along the margins. The slender stems grow vertically upwards or at an angle, and branch at regular intervals.
Flowers form on short, red stalks at the top of the branches. Flowers have four reddish yellow sepals and four yellow petals which are slightly longer, but still small, less than a quarter of an inch long. Petals may have two tiny red dots near the base. A style and four stamens protrude a little way beyond the petal tips, these latter in two unequal-length pairs. Petals become red as they wither. The fruit is a narrow, linear, cylindrical pod, 1 to 1.5 inches long.