Perennials, 20-50 cm; rhizomes 1-20 cm. Stems usually 1, erect, green to brown distally, simple, slender, proximally silky-sericeous, distal 2 / 3 sometimes densely stipitate-glandular. Leaves: basal overwintering, in rosettes (at ends of short rhizomes), ascending to spreading, blades linear-oblanceolate, 50-250(-350) × 5-10 mm, margins sometimes stipitate-glandular, apices acute, faces sparsely to densely silky-sericeous; cauline ascending, linear, greatly reduced distally, margins sparsely to densely stipitate-glandular, sparsely sericeous, glabrescent, or densely stipitate-glandular; proximal 30-120 × 2-10 mm, distal 20-50 × 1-3 mm, sometimes glabrate. Heads (4-)10-79, in corymbiform arrays. Peduncles 1-7, 1-6 cm, densely stipitate-glandular, glabrescent; bracteoles linear, stipitate-glandular. Involucres turbinate, 4.5-8 mm (shorter than mature pappi). Phyllaries in 5-7 series, margins fimbriate, sparsely piloso-ciliate, moderately so distally (green zones in distal 1 / 2 ), apices acute, sometimes long piloso-ciliate distally, faces moderately stipitate-glandular. Ray florets 6-10; laminae 4-6 mm. Disc florets 15-45; corollas 4-5.5 mm, proximal throats glabrate to sparsely short-pilose, lobes 0.5 mm, glabrous to sparsely pilose. Cypselae fusiform, 2-3 mm, ribbed, faces strigose; pappi: outer of linear to linear-triangular scales 0.5-1 mm, inner of 25-35 bristles 5-6 mm. Pityopsis aspera grows on the outer coastal plain.
Peduncles, as well as the invol, stipitate-glandular, scarcely silky; heads avg smaller; invol 5-8(-10) mm; rays more often 8 than 13, mostly 4-8 mm; disk-fls mostly 15-30, the dry cors 4-6.5 mm; 2n=18, 36. Va. to n. Fla. and s. Miss., commonest on the piedmont. (Heterotheca a.; Pityopsis a.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.