Antennaria friesiana is a small tufted plant with rounded flower heads that grows in dry alpine tundra, gravelly sites, and fellfields. Stems are 3.5-12.5 cm high and covered in fine white hairs. The basal leaves are narrowly oblanceolate, stem leaves linear with papery brown tips. All leaves are green-hairless to gray-tomentose, with gray, hairy undersides and entire margins. The flowering heads are surrounded by several layers of dark, narrow bracts, the tips a papery brown similar to that of the stem leaves. Flowers are dominated by the yellow pappus, long hairs. Fruits are dry and single-seeded, 1.2-1.8 mm long, with persistent pappus. Antennaria specimens can be difficult to identify, even for experienced botanists because many are part of asexually-reproducing swarms that have patterns of variation different from species that rely on sexual reproduction. Antennaria friesiana is different from the more common A. monocephala as it has multiple heads per stem. Unlike multi-headed A. rosea, the bracts of Antennaria friesiana are brown-margined (not pink-margined as in A. rosea).
Antennaria friesiana is perennial with evergreen leaves. It typically flowers mid-summer and fruits in fall.
The genus Antennaria is dioecious, meaning plants have either all male or all female flowers. Additionally, in A. friesiana, there are both sexual and asexual populations. Asexual populations consist solely of female plants (gynoecious). Gynoecious populations do not produce pollen, and reproduce clonally through apomixis (producing seed without fertilization). Sexual populations are pollinated by a number of insects. Fruits (produced by asexual or sexual means) have a persistent pappus, which aids in wind dissemination.
Antennaria friesiana is an incompletely circumpolar arctic-alpine species occurring from Greenland in the east across North America into Eurasia, but absent from Europe. Antennaria friesiana occurs across the arctic areas of Canada, but not south of the Yukon Territory. In Alaska, this species occurs from the arctic coastal plain to the mountains of southcentral Alaska. In Denali, Antennaria friesiana occurs in alpine areas on both sides of the Alaska Range, and in the foothills in the northeastern corner of the Park.