The leaves of this odd little plant look like catkins, or the sleek, gray tails of some little animal. They are cylindrical in form, three or four inches long, composed of many minute leaflets, crowded closely around a long, central stem. These little leaflets, hardly more than green scales, are smothered with soft, white down, which gives the whole "tail" a silky, silvery-gray appearance. From the midst of a bunch of these curious leaves, which are mostly from the root, spring several very slender stems, widely branching above, from six to twelve inches tall, and at the ends of the branches are airy clusters of pretty little flowers, like tiny strawberry-blossoms. These little plants grow in sandy soil, at high altitudes, and are plentiful on the gravelly "domes" around Yosemite.
There are a good many kinds of Horkelia; perennial herbs, with compound leaves, usually with many leaflets, and flowers in clusters; calyx cup-shaped, or saucer-shaped, with five teeth and five bractlets; stamens ten; pistils two or many, with long slender styles, and borne on a receptacle like that of Potentilla, which these plants resemble, though the flowers are usually smaller, in closer clusters.