The plant is a flowering evergreen hardwood shrub or small multi-trunked tree.
The leaves are olive to gray−green, fuzzy and flannel-like, palmately to pinnately lobed. The hairs covering the leaves are easily brushed off in human contact, and can be a skin and eye irritant. The large flowers a rich yellow, sometimes with orange, coppery, or reddish margins.
It typically grows in sandy washes near seasonal creeks, or in chalky well-drained mountain hillsides that get plenty of rainfall. By summer, the evergreen plants are dormant, in which state summer irrigation swiftly kills them. Is drought tolerant. Needs good drainage.