Perennials, 20-100 cm; taprooted, woody, with caudexlike branches 2-15 cm, or leafy stems arising directly from roots; single plants usually bowl-shaped, with up to a 65 cm lateral spread). Stems erect or ascending (often purple, distal branches stiff, spreading-ascending, without axillary leaf tufts), glabrous or sparsely strigose (hairs straight, ascending-appressed), sometimes minutely glandular distally. Leaves cauline; blades 1-nerved (often sharply folding in narrower forms), filiform or linear to oblanceolate, 10-65 × 1-5(-10) mm, relatively even-sized (mid and distal longer than inter-nodes), margins entire, ciliate (cilia ascending-appressed, thick-based), faces glabrous or sparsely strigose, eglandular. Heads 1 or 2-5 in loosely corymbiform arrays. Involucres 3.2-6.5 × 7-12(-14) mm. Phyllaries in 3-5 series (outer: margins stramineous, with distal, greenish, rhomboid patches; inner: margins narrow, scarious), glabrous or moderately to densely strigoso-hirsute, sparsely and obscurely to densely and prominently minutely glandular. Ray florets 15-60; corollas white to blue, 5-15 mm, laminae not coiling or reflexing. Disc corollas 3.5-5.5 mm (throats slightly indurate, not inflated). Cypselae (1.8-)2.2-3 mm, 2-nerved, faces sparsely strigose; pappi: outer of setae, inner of 19-34 bristles.
Erigeron foliosus and its close relatives, including varieties, were mapped in detail by G. L. Nesom (1992b).