Shrubs or subshrubs,
compact to spreading, 2-5(-8) × 2-20(-30) dm, tomentose to canescent and grayish. Aerial flowering stems
thinly tomentose to canescent, rarely glabrous. Leaf blade
usually oblanceolate, 0.6-1.8 × (0.1-)0.2-0.6 cm, canescent on both surfaces or densely grayish-tomentose abaxially and canescent adaxially, margins plane or infrequently revolute. Inflorescences
capitate to cymose-umbellate, rarely cymose; branches tomentose to canescent, rarely glabrous. Involucres
turbinate-campanulate to campanulate, 2.5-3.5 × 2-3 mm, canescent. Perianths
= 40. Flowering year-round. Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes, saltbush, blackbrush, and creosote bush communities, pinyon-juniper or juniper woodlands; (60-)300-2500 m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah; Mexico (Baja California, Sonora). Variety polifolium
is a widespread, common to abundant, or occasionally dominant shrub of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in Arizona, southern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah. This is the common tetraploid expression of the species. It is occasionally planted as an ornamental in the more arid regions of the American Southwest.
Plants were used by several groups of Native Americans as a medicinal plant to treat a variety of symptoms (D. E. Moerman 1986). It was used also in the practice of witchcraft by the Navajo, in a potion against evil spells.