Erect or ascending perennial, stems 15-80 cm tall, subglabrous or pubescent above. Basal leaves in a rosette, shortly petiolate, lanceolate-obovate to narrowly elliptic, entire, rarely dentate, usually sparsely hairy; cauline leaves similar to basal but narrower. Capitula gynodioecious, 1,5-3 cm diam., female smaller than hermaphrodite; flowers lilac to dark violet. Involucral bracts broadly lanceolate, pubescent, ciliate. Receptacular bracts elliptic. Involucel c. 5 mm long, hairy. Fl. 8-9. Open forest, meadows, 500-1100 m.
Europe N. to 68°21', Caucasus, W. Siberia, N. Africa.