is quite a distinctive plant of mountainous areas; it has long, very narrow leaves and mostly leafless, purplish stems topped by a single pale purple flowerhead. Leaves, stems and phyllaries may be hairless or coated with soft, non-glandular hairs; the phyllaries always have some hairs. Flowerheads typically contain 20 to 30 ray florets, narrow at the base, around a yellow center of small disc florets.
There are three varieties; var alpigenum
has oblanceolate basal leaves with rounded tips, var andersonii
(the most widespread variety) has linear leaves, four inches or more in length, while var haydenii
has linear leaves less than four inches long, and is a generally shorter species.