is a small, inconspicuous plant of high desert regions, producing spherical flowerheads that have the appearance of undeveloped buds. These generally lack phyllaries, but do contain thin, papery, leaf-like bracts (paleae), with pointed tips, and are mostly covered by thick, white, woolly hairs, which obscure the pistillate florets (numbering 12 to 25) and staminate florets (three to six). Flowerheads are about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and are produced in small clusters.
Leaves are narrow, pointed, and tipped by a short spine. Leaves grow along the stems (mostly towards the base) and also right beneath the flowerhead, where they are about twice as wide (as the flowerhead), and lanceolate in shape. Leaves and stems have a sparse covering of cobwebby hairs.