Plants 10-60 cm. Leaves mostly basal (distal slightly reduced); basal petiolate; blades 3-nerved, elliptic, oblanceolate, or spatulate, 5-10 cm × 5-15 mm. Heads 1-2, 20-30 mm diam. Peduncles 20-40 cm. Phyllaries 5-10 × 2-3 mm, apices obtuse. Paleae linear-spatulate, apices obtuse. Corollas white, lobes 2.5-6 × 0.5-1 mm. Pappi: scale margins entire or denticulate. 2n = 18. Flowering May-Jun. Understories, pine forests; 100-1000 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C., Va. Marshallia obovata grows on the piedmont and on the Atlantic coastal plain. Scapiform plants with the leafy parts of stems less than 1/4 lengths of peduncles are sometimes known as var. scaposa. They occur along the inner Atlantic coastal plain.
Somewhat resembling no. 2 [Marshallia grandiflora Beadle & Boynton], but the lvs a little smaller, seldom over 2 cm wide, and not strongly reduced upwards, the leafy part of the stem giving way abruptly to the long terminal peduncle; invol and receptacular bracts obtuse (sometimes minutely mucronulate), the latter dilated upwards; 2n=18. Meadows and open woods; s. Va. to Ga., Ala., and w. Fla. Apr.-June. Ours is var. obovata.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.