Perennials, 30-80 cm, cespitose; with cormoid, woody caudices. Stems 1-10+, ascending to erect (light to dark brown), glabrous or densely canescent distally. Leaves (green to graysih) soft to firm; basal withering by flowering, sessile, blades (1-3-nerved) elliptic-lanceolate, 10-43 × 5-15 mm, bases attenuate, margins usually entire, rarely remotely serrate, piloso-ciliate, apices acute to obtuse, faces silvery silky-pilose to sparsely pilose; proximal cauline withering by flowering, sessile, blades oblanceolate, 20-35 × 5-15 mm, bases rounded, subclasping, margins entire, scabrous to silky-pilose, apices acute to obtuse, cuspidate mucronate, faces ± densely silky; distal sessile, blades usually oblong to lanceolate, rarely ovate, 9-15 × 1.8-5 mm, reduced distally, bases cuneate, margins entire, apices acute, mucronate, faces ± densely silky or sparsely strigose, sometimes glabrate (var. devestitum). Heads in narrow, paniculiform (virgate) arrays (1-3(-5) per branch). Peduncles densely hairy, bracts becoming linear, grading into phyllaries. Involucres campanulate to narrowly campanulate, 5-7 mm. Phyllaries in 3-5 series, appressed, lanceolate-oblong, strongly unequal, bases (tan) ± indurate, margins scarious proximally, green distally, green zones restricted to apex, obscured by hair, apices usually acute, sometimes acuminate, usually mucronate, sometimes subspinulose, faces ± densely silky. Ray florets 8-12; corollas rose-purple, rarely white, laminae 4-9 × 1-1.5 mm. Disc florets (9-)11-17(-21); corollas pink turning purple, 4.5-6 mm, tubes shorter than narrowly funnelform throats (thinly puberulent), lobes triangular, 0.4-0.7 mm. Cypselae obovoid, not compressed, 2.5-3.5 mm, 7-10-nerved, faces densely strigose; pappi tan, (3.5-)4-6 mm.