This native perennial plant is up to 3' tall and unbranched. The stout central stem is greyish or reddish green and covered with coarse white hairs. Most of the leaves occur near the base of the plant, although a few of them alternate along the lower 1/3 of the stem. They are up to 9" long and 2" across, and narrowly lanceolate, oblanceolate, or ovate. The margins are smooth, but often curl upward, while the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered with fine white hairs. Leaf venation is primarily parallel, although a few fine pinnate veins may be present. A single daisy-like composite flower develops at the top of the stem. It is about 3" across, consisting of a prominent reddish brown cone of disk florets, which are surrounded by 12-20 light purple ray florets. The ray florets are long, slender, and droop downward. There is no noticeable floral scent. The blooming period occurs during early summer and lasts about 3 weeks, after which the ray florets shrivel away and the central cone turns black. The achenes are without tufts of hair. The root system consists of a stout taproot.