Plants 40-150 cm. Stems simple or more commonly much branched, white tomentose, especially distally. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline leaves winged-petiolate, mid and distal cauline clasping; blades ovate to elliptic or obovate, margins 1-2-pinnately lobed, lobes lanceolate to triangular, spiny-dentate, spine-tipped, spines slender, 2-3 mm; abaxial faces white-tomentose, adaxial green, glabrous to sparsely strigose. Secondary heads 3.5-6 cm diam. Involucres 20-30 mm. Phyllaries eglandular, ciliate, apices slender, slightly recurved. Corollas white to pale blue, 8-15 mm, tubes 2-6 mm, lobes 5-6 mm. Cypselae 7-8 mm; pappi of ± connate, ciliate scales ± 1 mm. 2n = 30. Flowering summer (Jun-Sep). Disturbed sites; 0-500 m; introduced; N.B., Ont., Que.; Wash.; Europe. Echinops exaltatus sometimes escapes from cultivation.