Perennials, 30-80 cm. Stems usually 1, usually unbranched distally, weakly winged, glabrous proximally, glabrous or sparsely hairy distally. Leaves usually glabrous, rarely sparsely hairy; basal blades obovate to narrowly oblanceolate, usually entire or undulate to un-dulate-serrate; proximal and mid blades usually narrowly lanceolate to narrowly oblanceolate, usually entire, sometimes toothed; distal blades lance-linear, entire. Heads 1(-3) per plant, usually borne singly. Peduncles 2-23 cm, usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy. Involucres hemispheric, 10-17 × 15-27 mm. Phyllaries glabrous or sparsely hairy. Ray florets 13-30, neuter; corollas yellow, 15-21 × 5-10 mm. Disc florets 150-650(-800+); corollas yellow proximally, yellow to yellow-brown distally, 4.6-6 mm, lobes 5. Cypselae 1-1.5 mm, glabrous; pappi of usually 8 entire or lacerate, non-aristate scales 1.5-2 mm. 2n = 34. Flowering Mar-May. Ditches, other moist areas such as wet woods, bogs, and swamp edges; 10-50 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C. The name Helenium nuttallii A. Gray is illegitimate; it has been applied to plants treated here as H. vernale.