The large, green, prominently veined leaves of eucephalus engelmannii
grow mostly in the middle and upper portions of the stems, which are thick and rigid, reach heights of 5 feet and branch towards the top. The stems are lightly hairy, the leaves mostly hairless.
Flowerheads are pure white or pale pink (becoming darker when mature), with between 8 and 17 thin ray florets (about 2/3 inch long) and a cluster of yellow disc florets at the center; they often have a somewhat untidy appearance due to missing or bent rays. Pauppus bristles are pure white, and are lined with small barbs.
Beneath the flowerhead are 4 to 6 rows of different-length phyllaries, generally colored light green, but darker green down the middle, and reddish along the edges, especially those towards the top. The lowest phyllaries are the longest, and are more likely to bend away from the involucre. Phyllary tips are pointed, and the surfaces may be hairless or lightly hairy.