Leaves: basal persisting or not to flowering, 8-20 mm wide, often entire or serrulate; mid cauline 4-15(-20) mm wide, often crowded, usually stiff, often somewhat scabrous. 2n = 18.
Flowering (Aug-)Sep-Oct. Sandy and gravelly soils, grasslands, oak savannas, open woods, road embankments; 100-900+ m; Ont.; Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Mich., Minn., Mo., Nebr., N.Dak., Ohio., Okla., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Wis.
Variety rigidiuscula is found in western portions of the deciduous forest and adjacent prairies and in glade habitats farther east. It tends to be shorter and have more compact, elongate arrays than var. speciosa. Plants with persistent basal leaves have been erroneously referred to var. angustata, which is a synonym of var. speciosa. Plants similar to var. rigidiuscula occur scattered farther east; they are more likely to be water-stressed individuals of var. speciosa.