The pretty white inflorescence of abronia fragrans
grows as a rounded cluster of between 25 and 70 individual flowers, each with an elongated trumpet shape - a long narrow tube topped by five small lobes. The bases of the tubes are pink, and the sepals may also have a pale pink tint. Beneath the flower head, at the top of the stem, are five thin, yellowish-green bracts, which have darker lengthwise veins and fade to light brown.
Leaves are bright green, often reddish at the base, and quite hairy (pubescent), especially the lower surface. The thick stems have a similar covering of short hairs.
The flowers have a sweet smell, and the plant is quite tall, up to 3 feet, which is one way to differentiate from the very similar abronia elliptica
, which is generally found further west; other factors include the shape of the fruit and seeds. Some botanists consider the two to be varieties of the same species.