Annuals, 5-30 cm. Stems 1-4, ascending to erect, ± branched proximally and distally (leafy to apices), glabrous. Cauline leaves: proximal oblanceolate, pinnately lobed (lobes 2-4 pairs, obtuse), ultimate margins entire or dentate; distal not much reduced (± linear, lobes usually 1-2 near bases, apices acute). Calyculi of 7-11, ovate to lanceolate bractlets, hyaline margins 0.05-0.2 mm. Involucres 7-8.5 × 3-6 mm. Phyllaries 9-13+ in 2-3 series, (red-tinged) oblong to lanceolate or lance-linear, hyaline margins 0.1-0.2 mm wide, faces glabrous. Receptacles not bristly. Florets 20-85: corollas medium yellow, 7-11 mm; outer ligules exserted 3.5-5.5 mm. Cypselae ± prismatic, 1.6-2 mm, ribs extending to apices, ± equal or 5 more prominent than others; persistent pappi of 11-14, irregular, ± dentate teeth plus 1-2 bristles. Pollen 70-100% 4-porate. 2n = 28. Flowering May-Jun. Flats and adjacent coastal bluffs; of conservation concern; 0-30 m; Calif. Malacothrix junakii is known only from middle Anacapa Island.