can grow upright, forming a bushy shrub 3 feet or more tall, or stay close to the ground; the branched stems are woody and rigid, and bear leaves at closely spaced intervals. Older stems have peeling, reddish-brown bark. Flowers (about one inch in diameter) form at the tips of the stems; they have five round yellow petals surrounding a cluster of 15 to 25 orange-brown stamens, with five hairy, pointed green sepals underneath, between which are five similarly-sized and similarly hairy bractlets. The bractlets tend to be colored darker green than the phyllaries, and are angled downwards slightly.
The leaves are divided into many linear or oblong segments, silky due to a covering of long, fine hairs (especially on the undersurfaces). They grow all along the stem including right beneath the flower heads. Unlike the many cinquefoils in the potentilla genus, the edges of the leaves are entire, not toothed.