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..2 Blades of basal and lower cauline leaves 4-16 mm wide; bracts among the inflorescence heads spatulate to oblanceolate, the lowermost (at least) surpassing the heads
....3 Involucres 2.5-3 mm high, seated in tomentum; capitulescence initially cylindric and uninterrupted, at least distally, the main axis obscured by clustered heads; phyllaries in 3-4 (-5) series, the outer and middle ovate-lanceolate with narrowly to broadly acute apices, the outer ½-2/3 as long as the inner, at least the innermost commonly tinged with purple at the stereome-lamina junction; flowering (Feb-) Mar-May (sometimes later because of moisture or disturbance)
....3 Involucres 3-3.5 mm high, lightly arachnose only at the base if at all; capitulescence interrupted at least distally, the main axis visible up to the terminal heads; phyllaries in 5-7 series, the outer and middle ovate-triangular with sharply acute-acuminate apices, the outer 1/3-½ as long as the inner, slightly brown, none with purplish color; flowering May-Jul
......4 Basal and proximal cauline leaves usually withering before anthesis (clusters of smaller leaves usually present in cauline axils); stems erect or ascending; plants (30-) 50-85 cm; apices of inner phyllaries acute-acuminate; flowering mostly Jul-Aug
........5 Upper leaf surfaces glabrous or glabrate; involucres 2.5-3.0 mm high, more-or-less purplish, the bases glabrous; outer phyllaries elliptic-obovate to broadly ovate-elliptic, apices rounded to obtuse; bisexual florets 2-3
........5 Upper leaf surfaces sparsely arachnose (hairs persistent, evident at 10× magnification); involucres 3.0-4.5 (-5) mm high, sometimes purplish, bases (imbedded in tomentum) often sparsely arachnose on the lower 1/5-1/2; outer phyllaries ovate, ovate-triangular, or ovate-lanceolate, apices acute to acuminate; bisexual florets 2-6.
..........6 Stems not pannose (indument whitish, like closely appressed, polished cloth, hairs usually not individually evident); involucres 3.0-3.5(-4.0) mm high; apices of inner phyllaries acute to acute-acuminate; bisexual florets 2-4; cypselas purple
............ 7 Blades of cauline leaves oblanceolate to oblanceolate-oblong or oblanceolate-obovate; involucres 3.0-3.5 mm high; laminae of inner phyllaries elliptic-oblong to oblong, apices truncate-rounded or obtuse and apiculate; bisexual florets (3-) 4-6; plants usually fibrous-rooted, rarely taprooted
............ 7 Blades of cauline leaves oblanceolate to spatulate (basal cells of hairs on adaxial faces persistent, expanded, glassy); involucres 4.0-4.5 mm high; laminae of inner phyllaries triangular, apices acute (not apiculate); bisexual florets 3-4; plants fibrous-rooted or taprooted