Annuals, 10-200 cm, taprooted, or perennials, 10-100 cm, with deeply seated, woody caudices or stout or slender, creeping rhizomes. Stems (1-8) erect, simple or branched, usually glabrous, sometimes hairy (especially when young). Leaves basal (withered at flowering in annuals and some perennials) and/or cauline (much reduced, bractlike in annuals and some perennials); usually sessile; blades linear to oblong, oblanceolate, or spatulate, usually runcinate, margins usually pinnately lobed (spinulose-tipped in S. parryi), sometimes entire or toothed (S. lactucina, S. tenuifolia, and S. fluminea (faces glabrous, puberulent, or tomentose); distal bractlike (to 45 mm in S. fluminea). Heads borne singly or clustered (in paniculiform arrays in some subspecies of S. exigua). Peduncles not inflated distally, sometimes bracteate. Calyculi of 3-5, unequal bractlets (more numerous in some perennials; not distinguishable in S. cichoriacea), appressed or reflexed (some annuals). Involucres ± cylindric to turbinate, 2-3 (-5+) mm diam. Phyllaries usually 5-12 in 1 series, equal (20-25 in 2-3 series, unequal in S. cichoriacea, usually glabrous, rarely puberulent, densely stipitate-glandular in S. exigua subsp. deanei). Receptacles flat, usually smooth (pitted in S. cichoriacea), glabrous, epaleate. Florets (4-)5-16; corollas usually pink or lavendel; sometimes white (annuals often purple-tinged abaxially). Cypselae light tan to dark brown, columnar, sometimes slightly curved, 5-angled, apices truncate, faces equal, sometimes with ribs between faces, each face with central, narrow, longitudinal groove or furrow (not grooved in S. virgata), otherwise smooth or bumpy to tuberculate, usually glabrous (scaberulous in S. fluminea); pappi persistent (or only widened bases of bristles persistent after distal portions break off) or falling, of 5-40, distinct or basally connate in groups, white to tan, wholly or distally plumose bristles in 1 series. x = 8.
from: Gottlieb, L. D. von 2006: 72. Stephanomeria Nuttall. Pp. 350-359 in: Flora of North America Editorial Com. (ed.), Flora of North America 19. – New York: Oxford Univ. Press.