Many small flowers (florets) in solitary heads, 2–6 cm across at the end of stalks 8–25 cm long. Flowers mostly spring and early summer.
Annual rosette-forming herb with taproot; individual plants to 80 cm wide and 30 cm high. Leaves with upper surface hairless to hairy; basal leaves 5–25 cm long, 2–6 cm wide, on a stalk to 6 cm long; upper leaves, if present, stem-clasping.
Distinguished by deeply lobed basal leaves, white downy underneath; area where seeds attach to the head (receptacle) pitted; petal-like ray florets yellow above, grey-green below with strap-like parts mostly 1.5–2.5 cm long, disc florets dark purple; seeds covered in pale brown wool and topped by 6–8 short scales.