Perennials, 1-6(-14) cm; taprooted, caudex branches relatively thick, retaining old leaf bases. Stems erect, hirtellous to sparsely hirsute (hairs straight-spreading, not deflexed), densely minutely glandular. Leaves basal (persistent) and cauline (petioles prominently ciliate, hairs spreading, thick-based); blades linear to narrowly oblanceolate or subspatulate (usually folding), 20-35(-45) × 2-4 mm; cauline often abruptly reduced distally, margins entire, faces hirsuto-strigose, densely minutely glandular. Heads 1. Involucres 4-7 × 6-15 mm. Phyllaries in 2-3 series (commonly purplish to purplish black, sometimes only at tips, midvein region greenish), hirsute, densely minutely glandular. Ray florets 20-37; corollas usually blue or purple, rarely white, 4-10 mm, laminae tardily, often only slightly, reflexing. Disc corollas 3.7-5.3 mm (throats tubular). Cypselae 2.3-2.8 mm, 2-nerved, faces sparsely strigose; pappi: outer of inconspicuous, fine setae, inner of 15-25 bristles. 2n = 18. Flowering Jul-Aug. Rocky ridges or slopes, often talus, above timberline, sometimes alpine; 2900-4100 m; Calif., Nev. Erigeron pygmaeus is found in the Sierra Nevada.