The large, pink (less often reddish or white) blooms of cirsium neomexicanum
grow at the end of a tough, fibrous stalk, and consist of numerous disc flowers pointing upwards and outwards above the spiky green phyllaries (modified bracts), which radiate downwards, terminating in a yellow-brown spine. Flower heads measure up to 2 inches in diameter. The leaves are typical of thistle species, being spiny, hairy (cobweb-like), and pinnately lobed; they grow mainly around the base. The plant is classed as a noxious weed in some areas, but is less of a problem than many other species.