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Biennials.  Stems are stout and thick, often branching throughout; densely very short pubescent and gland-dotted.   Typical height is 3 to 5 feet.

Overall inflorescences are widely diffused, consisting of terminal and numerous branch inflorescences.  Branches are ascending to widely spreadingFlower heads are borne on medium to long peduncles, distributed along outer 1/3 to 1/4 of a branch in small  flat- to round-topped clusters.

Flower heads are discoid; ray florets are absent.  Disc florets are narrowly tubular, bisexual and fertile; corollas are magenta.  Involucres are relatively large (2.5-4.5 cm wide). Involucral bracts are stiff, linear-subulate, the tips hooked.  In fruit, heads readily detach and cling to fur or clothing.

Basal leaves may be present at flowering.  Leaves are ovate, with blunt to rounded tips, wavy margins (not flat), sometimes coarsely toothed; densely pubescent (whitish) and gland-dotted on undersides.  The lowest leaves are very large.  Mid- to upper leaves are similar, but smaller.

Plants of fields, roadsides, farm yards, open disturbed areas.  Flowers late July through August.  Not native.

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Similar species:  Arctium minus.

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