The leaves are the easiest feature for identifying phacelia calthifolia
, being round, thick and dark green, covered with glands and short, sticky hairs, as are the stems and buds. Flowers grow along the upper few inches of the stem, tend to point in one direction, and open gradually, so that at first, blooms appear only at the tip, and a neat column of green buds lies beneath. The purple, bell-shaped flowers have five lobes with a center of a purple style and purple stamens tipped with dark anthers. The plant inhabits sandy locations in the Mojave Desert.