Plants 50-150 cm; taproots thickened, tuberous, with lateral side roots. Stems erect, purplish, glabrous proximally, finely tomentulose or setose distally. Leaves: proximal withered by flowering; petiolate (petioles 2-3 cm, winged; blades ± elliptic, 4-10 × 1-4 cm, coriaceous, bases narrowed (not hastate), margins coarsely and irregularly dentate or serrate (unlobed), apices acute, faces glabrous or papillose-hispid; mid cauline cuneate or sessile and clasping; distal sessile and reduced. Heads (15-50) in (much-branched) paniculiform or thyrsiform arrays (nodding). Calyculi of 7-11, dark green to purple, triangular to lance-ovate bractlets 2-5 mm, hispid or setose along midveins. Involucres cylindric to campanulate, 12-16 × 4-6 mm. Phyllaries 6-8, usually purple or lavender, subulate to lanceolate, 11-14 mm, margins scarious, coarsely hispid or setose along midveins. Florets 10-15; corollas white to yellowish white, 13-16 mm. Cypselae tan, subcylindric, subterete to 5-angled, 8-10 mm, indistinctly 8-10-ribbed; pappi yellowish white, 7-8 mm. Flowering Aug-Oct. Sandy oak-hickory-pine woods, savannas, prairies, pine barrens; 10-100 m; Ala., Ark., Ga., Ky., La., Okla., Tenn., Tex. Prenanthes barbata is identified by its erect habit, irregularly dentate leaves, heads with 6-8 purple phyllaries, coarsely setose calyculi and phyllaries, and white to yellowish white corollas.