Biennials or short-lived monocarpic perennials, 60-250 cm; taprooted. Stems 1-several, erect or ascending, densely gray-tomentose; branches few-many, ascending to spreading. Leaves: blades oblong-elliptic to obovate, 10-60 × 2-15 cm, unlobed or shallowly to deeply pinnatifid, lobes lanceolate to ovate-triangular, ascending to spreading, entire to coarsely dentate or lobed, main spines slender to stout, 2-30 mm, faces densely gray-tomentose, rarely glabrate; basal present at flowering, petiolate; principal cauline well distributed, proximal winged-petiolate, distal sessile, bases auriculate-clasping or decurrent as a spiny wing 1-3 cm; distalmost well separated, bractlike. Heads 10-many, often crowded at branch tips, collectively forming paniculiform arrays. Peduncles 0-4(-8) cm. Involucres ovoid to hemispheric, 1.5-3 cm, 2-4.5 cm diam, loosely arachnoid on phyllary margins or glabrate. Phyllaries in 6-8 series, imbricate, often with dark purple patch near tip, ovate-lanceolate (outer) to linear-lanceolate (inner), abaxial faces with linear to elliptic glutinous ridge; outer and middle appressed, entire, spines spreading, 1-9 mm; apices of inner often purple-tinged, often flexuous, flattened, spineless, scabrid. Corollas rose-purple (white or pinkish-tinged), 18-21 mm, tubes 8-9 mm, throats 5-6 mm (abruptly expanded), lobes 5-6 mm; style tips 3-4.5 mm. Cypselae dark brown to black, 5-6 mm, apical collars not differentiated; pappi 15-20 mm.