Artemisia frigida is a perennial plant but with a woody base. The stems spread out, generally forming a mat or clump up to 40 centimetres (1.3 ft) tall. The stems are covered in lobed gray-green leaves which are coated in silvery hairs. The inflorescence contains many spherical flower heads each about half a centimeter wide and lined with woolly-haired, gray-green or brownish phyllaries. The flower heads contain several pistillate ray florets and many bisexual disc florets. The plant is aromatic, with a strong scent. This plant can make a great many seeds. It can also spread by layering; in some years it produces very few seeds.