The plant is 3–5 feet (0.91–1.52 m) high and 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22 m) wide, and in some cases the plant can exceed up to 6 feet (1.8 m). The leaves of a plant are dark green coloured and are alternated.
The flowers bloom from July to August, and are magenta coloured with reddish-brown bracts. Each flower is from 4-7 inches long and 1/2 inches across, with 30-60 disk florets. They have central stout stem that is covered with white hairs. The flowers grow close to each other and have rayless heads. Their stems are hairy and reddish-brown in colour.
The plant is pollinated by various bees such as bumblebees, Epeoline Cuckoo, Halictid bees, and Miner bees. Butterflies and skippers are also a friquent visitors. Some of the caterpillars do feed on the plant. Most common guests are Grammia parthenice (Parthenice Tiger Moth), Perigea xanthioides (Red Groundling), and Papaipema cerussata (Ironweed Borer Moth). Herbivorous mammals are avoiding the species due to their bitter taste.