This biennial or short-lived perennial plant is up to 2½' and unbranched, except near the inflorescence. The central stem is slightly ridged and has scattered white hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 3½" long and 1½" across. These leaves clasp the stem, and become smaller and fewer as they ascend toward the inflorescence. They are usually lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, but sometimes oblanceolate, obovate, or broadly ovate. The margins may be smooth, or there may be a few scattered teeth toward the tips of the leaves. At the apex of the central stem, as well as from some of the axils of the upper leaves, there is a single stalked inflorescence that branches into about 3-15 daisy-like composite flowers. Each composite flower is about ½¾" across, and consists of numerous yellow disk florets and 100-300 surrounding white ray florets. Sometimes, the ray florets are slightly pink or purple. There is little or no floral scent. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, and lasts about 1½ months. Afterwards, this plant tends to die down during hot, dry summer weather. The root system is shallow and fibrous, and may form a short caudex in older plants. The achenes have white tufts of hair, which are carried aloft by the wind, thereby distributing the plant. Colonies are often formed.