Plants (5-)20-60 cm. Stems erect or ascending, purple proximally, slender, simple or sparingly branched from bases or distally, smooth (glabrous or tomentulose). Leaves: (proxi-malmost reduced to scales at ground level) proximal blades linear, 50-110 × 2-6 mm, ± lax; distal linear, less than 10 mm, distally reduced to linear scales. Heads 2-13, in loose, corymbiform arrays. Involucres subcylindric, 15-22 × 4-5 mm, apices narrow. Phyllaries 5-6. Florets 5; corollas purple to lavender or white. Cypselae 12-19 mm, abaxial faces smooth, adaxial distinctly rugose, weakly sulcate. 2n = 18. Flowering Jun-Jul. Sandy and gravelly soils in juniper-pinyon scrub, open fields, sandy roadsides; 1300-2500 m; Colo., Idaho, Nev., Utah. Variety dianthopsis is recognized by its slender, erect, leafy stems, purplish at base, persistent cauline leaves, phyllaries with appendages, 5-6 florets per head, and distinctive rugose-roughened cypselae. It usually is taller than var. arizonica. The stems and leaves are occasionally sparsely tomentulose.