Brittlebush grows up to 30 to 150 cm (12 to 59 in) tall, with fragrant leaves 3–8 centimetres (1.2–3.1 in) long, ovate to deltoid, and silvery tomentose. The capitula are 3.0–3.5 cm in diameter, with orange-yellow ray florets and yellow or purple-brown disc florets. They are arranged in loose panicles above the leafy stems fruit 3–6 mm and no pappus is visible. 3-Acetyl-6-methoxybenzaldehyde is found in the leaves of E. farinosa. Two varieties of E. farinosa are recognized by Flora of North America. E. f. var. farinosa – yellow disc florets E. f. var. phenicodonta (Blake) I.M.Johnston – purple-brown disc florets Varieties formerly included E. f. var. radians, now regarded as a separate species E. radians Brandegee.