Plants 20-100 cm. Corms globose to subglobose. Stems puberulent to piloso- or strigoso-puberulent. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, usually linear to linear-oblanceolate or oblanceolate, sometimes narrowly spatulate, 50-150 × 2-8(-10) mm, gradually or abruptly reduced on distal 1/2-1/3 of stems, essentially glabrous (proximal margins ciliate). Heads in loose, racemiform arrays. Peduncles 0 or (usually straight, stiffly spreading to ascending) 2-10(-12) mm. Involucres cylindro-campanulate, (4-)4.5-6(-7) × 3-4(-5) mm. Phyllaries in 3(-4) series, (green to purple) ovate to oblong, strongly to weakly unequal, sparsely puberulent, margins with hyaline borders, ciliolate, apices rounded to truncate. Florets 3-6(-9); corolla tubes pilose inside. Cypselae 3-3.5 mm; pappi: lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles barbellate. 2n = 20. Flowering (Jul-)Aug-Oct(-Nov). Longleaf pine, slash pine, palmetto-scrub oak, turkey oak-bluejack oak, sand scrub, sand ridges, uplands, boggy flatwoods, sandy peat, fencerows, roadsides, woodland edges; 10-50 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., Miss., S.C. Plants of Liatris gracilis from the panhandle of Florida and the southern tier of Alabama counties tend to have sharply acute phyllaries; intermediates are often encountered.