The yellow flowers of geraea canescens
resemble those of several other sunflower-type species of the western deserts; identifying features include the stems, which are (usually) branched rather than single, and the leaves, which are thick, ovate with a somewhat elongated, pointed tip, and covered in fine hairs. Basal leaves are larger and have short stalks; those higher up the stem are smaller and stalkless (sessile).
Flowers have between 10 and 21 bright yellow ray florets and several dozen central, orange-yellow disc florets which elongate when mature. Beneath the flowerheads are several rows of thin, linear, dark green phyllaries, each edged by dense, white hairs. The plant is common in some parts of the Mojave Desert, especially Death Valley.