Subshrubs, (10-)20-40(-60) cm (not cespitose or matted); proximal indument (especially of stems) persistent, whitish, densely lanu-ginose or pannose. Stems mostly 5-15+, erect. Leaves mostly cauline, (1-)2-5 cm; largest blades lance-ovate or deltate, ± plane, 1-pinnately lobed; lobes mostly 2-5 pairs, remote, ± plane. Heads mostly 1-3 per stem. Peduncles ascending to erect, 2-8(-20) cm. Involucres ± obconic. Phyllaries: longest 10-13 mm; outer predominantly arachnoid to closely lanuginose (sparsely, if at all, stipitate-glandular), apices ± squarrose, pliant. Corollas 7-8.5 mm. Cypselae 4-7 mm; pappi: longest scales 6-8 mm. 2n = 12.
Flowering May-Jul. Open rocky to sandy soils in low montane chaparral; of conservation concern; 1300-2500 m; Calif.; Mexico (Baja California).
Chaenactis parishii is sometimes cultivated in rock gardens. It is known from small, isolated populations in the higher Peninsular Ranges of Riverside and San Diego counties and adjacent Baja California. Chaenactis parishii and C. suffrutescens form a species pair well marked by the (usually) subshrubby habit, proximal indument persistent, white, felty, heads relatively large, and largest leaf blades lance-ovate to deltate.