Annual, occasionally biennial, forb to 50cm tall. Basal leaves flat, with blunt tips, soon withering. Stem leaves alternating along the stem, 1-15cm long, 3-14mm wide, flat, green or glaucous to slightly hairy above, white or green and hairy below, edges curving down and often wavy, with a straight point. Flower heads reddish-purple or pale brownish, with 0 petals. Individual flower heads narrow cylindrical, in a dense globular cluster at the end of the stem, subtended by 3-8 leaf-like bracts far longer than the flowers. Smaller clusters occasionally at the bases of the upper leaves.
Description (as Gnaphalium sphaericum) in G.M. Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 686