Showy desert marigold is a 12-18 in., mound-shaped biennial or short-lived perennial. Its daisy-like flowers form impressive mounds of nearly solid yellow. The long-lasting, bright-yellow flowers rise on nearly leafless stems above the mounds of woolly, gray foliage. A grayish, woolly plant, branched and leafy mostly in the lower half, with brilliant yellow flowers in heads, one borne at the end of each of many nearly leafless flower stalks. The flowers, which occur sporadically over a long bloom period, turn papery with age.