Annuals. Stems branched, 3–12 dm, densely white-villous, glandular-pubescent. Leaves: petiole 1–8 mm; blade lanceolate, (5–)10–50 x 6–26 mm, margins 2-pinnatifid, sometimes undivided or basal less deeply incised, glandular-pubescent. Bracts leaflike, 10–16 x 4–10 mm, margins pinnatifid to 2-pinnatifid. Pedicels 5–20 mm, villous, glandular-pubescent. Flowers: calyx villous and glandular-pubescent, tube campanulate, 3–8 mm, lobes linear, 7–15 x 1–3 mm, margins pinnatifid; corolla tube 25–40 mm, gibbous, floccose, lobes 7–11 x 6–15 mm; filaments 12–18 mm, ciliate; style 30–50 mm. Capsules pyriform, 11–15 x 5–7 mm, hispid.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Sep.
Habitat: Sandy soils, oak-pine scrubs.
Elevation: 0–700 m.
Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.
Aureolaria pectinata was treated at species rank by F. W. Pennell; some authors have included it within A. pedicularia (for example, R. P. Wunderlin 1998). Although A. pectinata and A. pedicularia bear a close resemblance, they can be separated reliably and recognized as species. While Pennell (1935) recognized four infraspecific taxa, these were distinguished on subtle characteristics that are difficult to discern on herbarium specimens (for example, distal leaves and bracts not excessively smaller versus distal leaves and bracts excessively smaller). No infraspecific taxa are recognized here.