is a small shrub, forming dense clumps up to 3 feet high and broad; individual plants produce up to five stems. Leaves are greyish-green in color, covered by whitish, tomentose hairs. Leaves are not spiny, unlike some other horsebrush species. Leaves tend to angle upwards, staying close to the stem. Smaller secondary leaves may be present, at the base of the primaries. Leaves have a prominent center vein, and sometimes faint, palmate side veins.
Flowerheads form clusters of between three and eight, at the top of the stems. They have a cylindrical involucre, up to half an inch long, enclosed by four hairy, lance-shaped, equal-length phyllaries. There are four yellow disc florets, opening to five narrow lobes, thickest along the margins. The florets are surrounded by up to 150 white or pale brown pappus bristles.