Stems repeatedly forked, 10-90 cm. Leaves: petiole 1-8 cm; blade subtriangular, rarely ovate, 3-13 × 1-11 cm, base broadly obtuse, truncate-cordate, or occasionally hastate, margins sinuate and undulate, often crispate, apex acuminate or acute, surfaces glabrous or sparsely viscid-villous adaxially, glaucous abaxially, veins usually sparsely viscid-villous. Inflorescences: peduncle 2-14 cm; involucral bracts 6-15 mm. Flowers: perianth of chasmogamous flowers bright orange-red, mottled or streaked with yellow, rarely all yellow, 20-40 × 10-16 mm; stamens nearly 2 times length of perianth. Fruits 5-8 × 3.5-4 mm.
Flowering late spring-early fall. Dry, sandy or loamy soils, arid grasslands, shrublands, roadsides; 200-1600 m; N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León).
Nyctaginia capitata apparently has been introduced in the vicinity of Dallas, Texas.