Annuals, 10–30(–100+) cm. Stems erect. Leaves mostly opposite; petioles 0–0.5 mm; blades ± lanceolate to lance-linear, 15–40+ × 3–6(–10+) mm, bases rounded to cordate, margins entire or with (1–)2(–4) basal lobes, abaxial and adaxial faces ± piloso-hispid and gland-dotted. Pistillate heads clustered, proximal to staminates; florets 1. Staminate heads: peduncles 0–0.5 mm; involucres obliquely cup-shaped (lateral lobe longer than others), 2.5–4 mm diam., piloso-hispid; florets 6–8+. Burs: bodies pyramidal, 5–8 mm, piloso-hispid, spines 4(–5), ± distal, ± acerose, 0.5–1 mm, tips straight.
"Branching annual weed 3–10 dm, the stem conspicuously spreading-hirsute, especially above; lvs numerous, sessile, opposite below, alternate above, lanceolate, acuminate, 2.5–7 cm × 4–10 mm, usually with a single pair of sharp large teeth below the middle, hirsute to scabrous, or the upper side glabrous; staminate heads sessile, the invol strongly oblique, its upper side produced into a conspicuous, retrorsely spreading, hispid-hirsute, lanceolate to triangular- ovate lobe, the bractless infl thus appearing retrorse-bracteate; fruiting invol 5–8 mm, villous-hirsute, several-ribbed, the ribs produced into short, stiff spines; 2n=34. Prairies and waste places; O. and Ky. to Nebr., La., and Tex., and occasionally intr. elsewhere. July–Oct."