is one of the more distinctive members of this large genus owing to its very long, narrow leaves, and the lack of petal-like appendages on its involucral glands. The slender stems grow vertically upwards, and, like the leaves, are usually sparsely hairy, sometimes glabrous. Leaves are often purplish, especially along the margins; they are pointed at the tip, and may have a few tiny teeth towards the apex, but are otherwise untoothed.
Flowers form in small clusters at the ends of the branches, subtended by leaves. The involucre has an inverted cone-shape, and is covered by short, appressed hairs (canescent). Each involucre has from one to three red glands, divided into between five and seven curved lobes. Male flowers have around 20 tiny stamens. From certain angles the inflorescence resembles the face of a beetle, hence the common name. Plants can bloom any time of year, most profusely in the spring.