Cotula australis grows low to the ground in a thin mat with some slightly erect, spindly stems. The leaves are divided and subdivided into fringelike lobes. The plant flowers in inflorescences only a few millimetres wide containing minuscule yellow disc florets surrounded by greenish brown bracts and rudimentary ray florets that have been reduced to pistils with no stamens or corolla. The fruit is a tiny winged achene about a millimetre wide.
^Jørgensen, P. M. & C. Ulloa Ulloa. 1994. Seed plants of the high Andes of Ecuador—A checklist. AAU Rep. 34: 1–443
^Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. M. Welman, E. Retief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. Van Wyk & A. Nicholas. 1987. List of species of southern African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2).
^Turner, B. L. 1996. The Comps of Mexico: A systematic account of the family Asteraceae, vol. 6. Tageteae and Athemideae. Phytologia Memoirs 10: i–ii, 1–22, 43–93