Shrubs, 50-150 cm. Stems branched to near apices, glabrous (younger stems and branchlets glabrous, eglandular). Leaf blades spatulate to oblong or lanceolate, 5-26 mm wide, bases attenuate to cuneate or subauriculate-subclasping, margins flat, spinulose-dentate to subentire, faces glabrous or sericeous along veins. Peduncles 1-7 cm. Involucres 17-20 × 20-45 mm. Phyllaries tightly appressed, outermost glabrous, innermost equaling or longer than mid. Ray florets (18-)27-38(-45); corollas light blue to lavender. Style-branch appendages shorter than stigmatic lines. 2n = 12. Flowering (Nov-)Jan-Apr(-Jun). Slopes and ravine bottoms, rocky sand and clay of high pH, in relatively barren areas dominated by creosote bush and cactus; of conservation concern; 20-300 m; Calif.; Mexico (Baja California). Xylorhiza orcuttii grows in Imperial, Riverside, and San Diego counties.