Plants 60–120 cm. Leaves cauline; sessile; blades oblong-ovate to elliptic, 5–15 cm, bases cordate, clasping, auriculate, margins spinulose-denticulate, faces densely glandular-scabrid. Heads in paniculiform arrays. Involucres turbinate to campanulate, 6–8(–10+) mm. Phyllaries in 3–4 series, linear to oblanceolate, apices acute to acuminate or mucronate, margins and abaxial faces glandular-hairy. Receptacles alveolate, glandular-hairy. Florets 10–20; corollas lavender-pink, 6–12 mm. Cypselae cylindric, 1.5–6 mm, bristly glandular-puberulent; pappi tawny, 6–10 mm. 2n = 54.
Phenology: Flowering May–Jul.
Habitat: Gravel and caliche soils in scrub oak, oak woodlands, and chaparral
Elevation: 60–1300 m
Calif., Mexico (Baja California).
In the flora, Acourtia microcephala is restricted to the dry areas of California from Monterey to San Diego counties and on the Channel Islands.