Plants 10-40(-120) cm. Stems profusely branched at base (usually spreading or mat-like, sometimes erect); moderately to densely hairy (sometimes spreading-hispidulous). Leaves: stipules finely divided into crinkled threads, 5-7 mm; petiole 0.7-0.8(-2) cm; leaflet blade elliptic to obovate, 0.5-1.5 × 0.2-0.8 cm, thin, margins entire, apex obtuse to rounded, mucronulate, surfaces spreading-hispidulous. Inflorescences racemes, terminating stems and branches (solitary flowers in leaf axils of distal stems), 0.5-1.2 cm (0.5-1 cm in fruit); bracts unifoliate, 2-7 mm. Pedicels ascending in fruit, 4-10 mm (3-12 mm in fruit). Flowers: sepals green, ovate-deltate, 1-1.5(-2.3) × 0.9-1.2 mm, sparsely hairy; petals yellow or orange, oblong, 3.5-6 × 1.2-2 mm, sparsely hairy abaxially; stamens yellow, 8-14 mm; anthers 1.5-2.2 mm; gynophore reflexed, 4-5 mm in fruit; ovary ± rhomboidal, 1-1.5 mm; style 2-3(-5) mm. Capsules rhomboidal, 3.5-4 × 7-10 mm (striate), strigose. Seeds (1-)2-6, light brown to gray with black mottling, globose, 1.5 mm, smooth. Flowering late winter-fall. Sandy, often alkaline flats and desert playas; 300-1300(-2000) m; Calif., Nev., N.Mex. Cleomella obtusifolia is variable in degree of pubescence, elaboration of stipules, and fruit shape. Four varieties have been recognized; additional taxonomic investigation is desirable.