Characteristic features of senecio amplectens
, a relatively common species, are the stout, rigid stems, the nodding flowerheads, the large basal leaves and the pointed petal tips. Leaves and stems are usually hairless, though the leaf axils may have a sparse covering. Leaves grow quite densely at the base, pointing upwards; they have stems several inches long and fine or medium sized teeth along the edge. Stems can grow singly or in small clusters.
Stems are topped by between 1 and 5 heads; flowers consist of around 13, inch-long, bright yellow ray florets subtended by a similar number of pointed green phyllaries (which may have dark tips or even be completely dark, and a sparse covering of black hairs), and radiating from a center of several dozen yellow to brown disc florets.
Two varieties are var amplectens
of Colorado and New Mexico, which is usually over 15 inches tall, sometimes has hairy leaves, and has phyllaries more likely have dark tips, and the more widespread var holmii
, which is usually less than 8 inches tall, hairless, and has foliage (and phyllaries) tinged with purple.