Annuals, 2-12(-45) cm. Stems usually 1, erect or ± prostrate, usually ± branched proximally (often forming mats, usually leafy throughout), glabrous. Cauline leaves: proximal obovate to spatulate, usually pinnately lobed (lobes 1-3+ pairs, nearly equal, apices obtuse), usually fleshy, ultimate margins entire, faces glabrous; distal not reduced (similar to others). Calyculi of 8-13+, lance-deltate to lanceolate bractlets (sometimes intergrading with phyllaries), hyaline margins 0.05-0.2 mm wide. Involucres ± campanulate, 6-8 × 2-6+ mm. Phyllaries 13-22+ in 2-3 series, (often red-tinged) oblong to lanceolate, hyaline margins 0.05-0.2 mm wide, faces glabrous. Receptacles glabrous. Florets 18-76; corollas medium yellow, 4-8 mm; outer ligules exserted 1-4 mm. Cypselae ± prismatic, 1.2-1.5 mm, ribs extending to apices, 5 more prominent than others; persistent pappi 0. Pollen 70-100% 3-porate. 2n = 14. Flowering Apr-Jul. Shallow soils of ocean bluffs, open rocky areas; of conservation concern; 0-30 m; Calif. Malacothrix indecora is found on San Miguel, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa islands.