Plants 10-100 cm. Stems ascending to erect, greenish when young becoming tan and gray, sometimes fastigiately branched, densely white to grayish tomentose, eglandular. Leaves (sparse to crowded) erect to ascending or spreading; blades linear to spatulate (plane or concave), 10-80 × 0.5-8(-14) mm, midnerves (sometimes + 2 laterals) evident, apices acute, faces glabrous or gray, greenish, or yellowish tomentose, sometimes viscid, sometimes gland-dotted or stipitate-glandular; axillary leaf fascicles absent. Heads usually in congested, racemiform or cymiform clusters, sometimes grouped in paniculiform or thyrsiform arrays, sometimes borne singly. Peduncles 1-10+ mm (bracts 0-3, transitional from distal leaves to phyllaries). Involucres subcylindric, 9-18 × 4-8 mm. Phyllaries 10-20 in 3-6 series, tan, ovate to lanceolate or elliptic, 5-11+ × 0.7-2 mm, subequal, mostly chartaceous, sometimes herbaceous-tipped, midnerves mostly evident, (margins narrowly membranous, entire, mostly tomentulose, rarely eciliate) apices acuminate to attenuate, abaxial faces usually tomentose, sometimes resinous. Ray florets 0. Disc florets 5-20; corollas 8-12.5 mm. Cypselae tan, narrowly ellipsoid to subturbinate, 3-8 mm, sericeous; pappi off-white to brown, 3.3-7.5 mm. 2n = 18.
Ericameria parryi is widespread, often abundant, and variable (some authors recognize additional varieties). It is reported to hybridize with E. nauseosa. This treatment is based largely on the extensive research on Ericameria and related taxa by L. C. Anderson (1986).