Plants 15-85 cm. Corms globose to depressed-globose or elongate, sometimes becoming simple or branched rhizomes. Stems glabrous. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, linear, 50-140 × 1-7 mm, gradually or little reduced distally, essentially glabrous or sparsely piloso-hirsutulous, gland-dotted (margins sometimes ciliate). Heads in dense to loose, spiciform arrays. Involucres campanulate-cylindric, 7-15 × (4-)5-7 mm. Peduncles 0 or very rarely 1-2 mm. Phyllaries in 3-6 series, mostly oblong-obovate, unequal, essentially glabrous, margins without hyaline borders, sometimes ciliate, apices acute, acute-acuminate, obtuse, rounded, or rounded-truncate (often with indurate apicula or mucros, lateral veins usually not evident beyond middle or at least on distal 1/3). Florets 3-8; corolla tubes glabrous inside. Cypselae (5.5-)6-8.5 mm; pappi: lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles plumose.
Rootstock (unlike all our other spp.) ±elongate and pointed at the base, like a short, fleshy-thickened taproot, or seldom horizontal and resembling a thickened rhizome, producing scattered aerial stems; lvs numerous, punctate, glabrous except for the often coarsely ciliate margins, linear or linear-oblanceolate, the lowest smaller than those just above and often deciduous; heads several or many in a spiciform infl, sessile or nearly so; invol subcylindric, 10-18 mm, its bracts punctate, mostly sharply- mucronate-acuminate, commonly some of them ±ciliate-margined; fls mostly 4-6 per head, the cor- lobes glabrous, the tube hairy toward the base within; pappus evidently plumose; 2n=20. Dry, open places, often in sandy soil; sw. Mich. to Man., Alta., Ark., N.M., and n. Mex. Aug.-Oct. Highly variable, and perhaps taxonomically divisible. (L. angustifolia; L. densispicata) Our common phase is var. nebraskana Gaiser, to 8 dm, with scarcely ciliate lvs mostly 2-3 mm wide. The chiefly more western var. punctata is 1-4 dm, with more ciliate lvs to 7 mm wide.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.