Herbs, perennial, [1-]5-35[-60] cm tall; rhizome thin. Stems usually ascending, sometimes decumbent, often purplish, simple or sometimes branched basally or above, densely villous (sometimes lanate below capitula). Leaves: basal small, deciduous at anthesis; mid cauline sessile, blade oblong to lanceolate [or lanceolate-ovate, obovate, or spatulate], [2.5-]5-8[-9.5] × [0.6-]1-1.7[-3.5] cm, markedly veined, abaxially glabrescent or scabridulous, adaxially sparsely to ± densely villous or villous-strigose, base attenuate to cuneate, subclasping, margin serrate [or entire], apex acute; upper gradually reduced, linear-oblong. Capitula solitary or 2-5[-50] in dense corymbiform synflorescences. Involucre campanulate, 10-13 mm in diam.; phyllaries 3- or 4[or 5]-seriate, purplish wholly or at apex, densely villous, membranous, green zone in distal 1/3-4/5, truncate basally, or outer often leaflike, apex ± squarrose, outer oblong-lanceolate, 4-5 × ca. 1 mm, 1-veined, margin narrowly scarious, apex acute, inner linear-lanceolate, 4-5 × 1-1.5 mm, apex acuminate. Ray florets 12-50, purple [or white to pale violet], tube 3-4 mm, lamina 7-17.5 × 0.8-1.8 mm; disk florets 25-125, yellow becoming purplish, [5-]6.5-7[-8.1] mm, tube ca. 3 mm, limb funnelform, lobes purplish, triangular, 0.5-1.1 mm. Achenes brown, fusiform, strigillose, veins 7-10. Pappus dark cinnamon to reddish, ± equaling to slightly longer than disk corolla. Fl. Jul-Aug.
Plants (1–)5–60 cm; clonal and clumped, eglandular; rhizomes creeping to ascending, scaly, woody with age. Stems 1–5+, usually ascending, sometimes decumbent, often purplish, sometimes branched basally, flexuous, proximally sparsely villous, distally usually densely villous, sometimes lanate. Leaves: cauline (dark green abaxially, paler grayish green adaxially), firm, ± markedly veined, margins coarsely and sometimes irregularly serrate, sometimes (distal) serrulate or entire, villoso-ciliate, teeth mucronate, slightly incurved, apices obtuse to acute, mucronate, abaxial faces glabrescent to scabridulous, sparsely villous along veins, adaxial sparsely to ± densely villous or villoso-strigose; proximal winged-petiolate to sessile, petiole bases sheathing, blades spatulate, obovate to oblanceolate, or ovate (smaller than mid), 9–50 × 3–22 mm, bases attenuate to tapering and (in sessile) subclasping; mid short-petiolate to subpetiolate or sessile, blades lanceolate to lance-ovate, oblong to oblanceolate, or obovate to spatulate, 25–95 × 6–35 mm, gradually reduced distally, bases rounded or subauriculate to widely attenuate or cuneate; distal (arrays) sessile, lanceolate, lance-ovate, or elliptic to oblanceolate, 8–60 × 1–12 mm, rapidly reduced distally. Heads 1–50, borne singly or in open corymbiform arrays. Peduncles villous; bracts 0–3, sometimes immediately subtending heads, lanceolate or spatulate to linear-lanceolate, leaflike or phyllary-like distally (bases indurate, margins purplish), mostly foliaceous, villous. Involucres campanulate, 6–9 mm, shorter than pappi. Phyllaries 30–80 in 3–4(–5) series, sometimes wholly purplish, usually ± oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate, sometimes linear-lanceolate (innermost), subequal or ± unequal, membranous, bases indurate, ± rounded, dark green zones lanceolate or truncate at base, in distal 1 / 3 – 4 / 5 + (outer, often foliaceous, sometimes bractlike and surpassing involucres) to 1 / 4 – 2 / 3 (inner), margins hyaline, often purplish, narrowly scarious, erose, densely villoso-ciliate, apices squarrose, acute, apiculate, faces villous. Ray florets 12–50; corollas white to pale violet or purple, 7–17.5 × 0.8–1.8 mm. Disc florets 25–125; corollas yellow becoming purplish, 5–8.1 mm, slightly ampliate, tubes longer than funnelform throats, lobes erect, triangular, 0.5–1.1 mm. Cypselae brown, fusiform, compressed, 2.5–3.7 mm, ribs 7–10 (stramineous), faces strigillose; pappi of dark cinnamon or reddish tan (sometimes apically clavellate) bristles 5.5–7.5 mm, ± equaling disc corollas. 2n = 18.