(the only species in this genus) is a large flowered plant of the high desert, forming clumps several feet tall and wide; a mix of fresh growth and the dead stems and leaves from previous years. The species name scabra refers to the rough, scaly, sandpaper-like texture of the leaves and stems. Leaves are long and thin, with a prominent, light-colored midvein (the same color as the stems), and fine teeth along the edges.
Flowerheads are borne singly at the top of the branched stems. Phyllaries are narrow, quite well-separated, up to an inch long, often projecting outwards from the involucre at 90 degrees, or curved back downwards. The 10 to 23 broad, ridged ray florets are up to 2 inches long.
There are three subspecies; ssp attenuata, ssp canescens and ssp scabra, differing in the shape and hairiness of the outer phyllaries.