Perennials, 5-55(-70) cm; rhizomatous, fibrous-rooted, caudices usually simple, thick. Stems erect to basally ascending, hirsute to hirsuto- or strigoso-villous (hairs loosely appressed, slightly crinkled), sometimes loosely strigose distally (var. thompsonii), eglandular. Leaves basal (persistent) and cauline; basal blades linear-oblanceolate to broadly lanceolate or spatulate, (30-)50-100 × 5-25 mm, cauline gradually reduced distally (bases distinctly subclasping, except when greatly reduced), margins entire, faces hirsute, hirsuto-villous, sparsely villosulous, glabrate, or glabrous, eglandular. Heads 1. Involucres 5-9(-12) × 10-22(-25) mm. Phyllaries in 2-3(-4) series (margins usually ciliate), abaxially sparsely to moderately villoso-hirsute, usually eglandular, sometimes sparsely gland-dotted apically, rarely sparsely so over adaxial faces (especially in var. thompsonii). Ray florets 30-80; corollas usually blue to rose purple or pink, sometimes white to pale blue, 12-20(-25) mm (mostly 1.5-3 mm wide), laminae coiling. Disc corollas 3.5-4.5 mm. Cypselae 2.5-2.8 mm, (4-)5(-7)-nerved, faces sparsely strigose; pappi: outer of setae, inner of 20-32 bristles.