The beach strawflower, as Helichrysum retortum is commonly known, spreads on coastal sand and rocks, but may also reach 50 cm in height. The leaves are oblong and overlapping, recurving to hooked tips. Silky white hairs cover the boat-shaped leaves that are concave above.
The flowerheads comprising yellow disc flowers grow solitary at stem tips, surrounded by several rows of hairless and glossy involucral bracts. These bracts are mostly white, sometimes flushed with pink or brown on their outer surfaces. In this picture, taken near Vermont in October, some of the pointed bracts are maroon-tipped (Manning, 2007; Privett and Lutzeyer, 2010; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984).