Plants prostrate to slightly ascending, 0.5-1.5 × 0.5-10 dm. Involucres: margins white (rarely pinkish), scarious. 2n = 40. Flowering Apr-Jul. Sandy places, coastal scrub communities, oak woodlands; of conservation concern; 0-70 m; Calif. Variety pungens is restricted to coastal regions of west-central California. It is rare and infrequent. A collection made by William Gambel in the 1840s suggests that the variety once occurred at San Simeon in extreme northern San Luis Obispo County; it is not known whether this is a labeling error or an indication of past distribution. Monterey spineflower is federally listed as threatened.