Plants 30-100 cm. Stems with 20-85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline usually narrowly lanceolate-spatulate, sometimes broader, mostly 100-500 × 25-50(-55) mm, glabrous or hirtello-puberulent (gland-dotted). Heads usually 9-20. Florets 30-80.
Flowering Aug-Sep(-Oct). Prairies, glades, open woods, bluff ledges, railroads, rocky limestone soils, red clays, jack pine, pine-oak, oak-juniper, oak-hickory, aspen; 100-500 m; Ark., Ill., Ind., Mich., Mo., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., W.Va., Wis.
Plants of var. nieuwlandii are usually relatively tall and have relatively numerous, even-sized, densely arranged, lanceolate cauline leaves.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Lunell in his revision of the genus described new species and new varieties and cited Indiana specimens in the Deam Herbarium. I am regarding this polymorphic species as a complex. E. S. Steele had my specimens and after working on this genus for several years, he wrote a manuscript of about 500 pages in which he described many species of this complex. In my collection of about 400 sheets I have many type specimens and varieties which he proposed to publish. I was told by a geneticist that he estimated this species contains at least 100 elemental species. It at once becomes evident that a detailed account of this group would be out of place in a work of this kind. Infrequent to frequent or common in prairie habitats in northern Indiana, in moist or dry, sandy soil in fallow fields, in open woods, in prairie habitats, and along roads and railroads. In the southern part of the state it is local and is found in dry, sandy clay soil on ridges or on open, wooded slopes. This and the preceding species are easily cultivated and their inflorescences are commonly seen on the market. They prefer a sandy, well drained soil. In the event that the corms are forced to the surface by freezing during the winter they should be replanted in the spring, the depth depending upon the soil.