Plants 3-5(-9) cm (with relatively short caudex branches, cespitose; taprooted). Stems proximally herbaceous or slightly woody, eglandular. Leaves: proximal densely clustered, internodes not visible, reduced in size distally; mid and distal 5-17 mm, margins green, faces glabrous or sparsely puberulent, eglandular. Heads 1(-3). Involucres 4.5-6.5 mm. Disc florets bisexual, fertile; corollas 3.8-5 mm. Cypselae 2-2.5 mm, faces sessile- to stipitate-glandular. 2n = 18. Flowering Jun-Aug. Granite outcrops; of conservation concern; 2500 m; N.Mex. Ionactis elegans is known from a single population system in Eagle Creek Canyon, Lincoln County.