The relatively large flowerheads of encelia actoni
, a small shrub, are borne singly at the ends of the stem branches. The ray florets (numbering between 14 and 25) are shallowly lobed at the tip, and are up to one inch in length; they surround a hundred or more small, five-lobed disc florets. Phyllaries are in several rows; they are ovate in shape, tapering to a narrow point, often brownish, and slightly recurved.
Leaves have a midvein and a pair of side veins, branching from the base; veins are white, while leaf surfaces are grey-green (canescent), though not strigose hairy like some other species in this genus. The slender stems branch profusely, mainly from near the base, and they become woody, with split bark, when aged. Young stems are hairy.