Perennials, 35–110(–150) cm; taprooted, spreading by rhizomes. Stems 1–30(–100), ascending to erect (sometimes reddish brown, sometimes ± brittle), appressed-strigose, sparsely to moderately long-hirsute, eglandular or sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular, more densely so distally; axillary fascicles absent. Leaves: proximal cauline subpetiolate to sessile, blades oblanceolate, 38–73 cm × 6–15(–18) mm, bases cuneate, margins flat, sparsely serrate, strigoso-ciliate, with a few long cilia proximally, faces moderately long-strigose, eglandular or sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular; distal sessile (usually spreading, sometimes perpendicular), blades usually narrowly to broadly oblanceolate, rarely obovate or ovate, little reduced distally (not stiff), margins sparsely serrate (not long-ciliate), faces moderately strigose, sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular. Heads (1–)5–24, usually in open to congested corymbiform arrays, sometimes borne singly, on long peduncular branches. Peduncles 5–35 mm, short-hispido-strigose, sometimes stipitate-glandular; bracts 1–3, proximal leaflike, becoming linear-lanceolate, less hairy and more stipitate-glandular distally, larger bracts subtending heads absent or very rare. Involucres cylindric to campanulo-hemispheric, 7–9(–10.5) mm. Phyllaries in 4–5 series, outer and mid narrowly triangular, unequal, margins hyaline, fimbriate-ciliate apically, faces sparsely strigose, eglandular or sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular. Ray florets 16–29(–38); laminae 10.5–17(–21.5) × 1–2(–2.6) mm. Disc florets (23–)32–66; corolla barely ampliate, 5–6.6 mm, glabrous, lobes 0.5–1 mm, glabrous or glabrate. Cypselae monomorphic, compressed obconic, 1.7–3.9 mm, ribs 7–10 (often brownish), faces moderately strigose; pappi off-white, outer of linear scales 0.2–1 mm, inner of bristles 5–7 mm, longest weakly clavate.
Ala., Ark., Ill., Ind., Ky., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.C., N.J., Tenn., Va.
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).
Chance introductions (usually emphemeral) of Heterotheca camporum have occurred in Michigan, New Jersey, and likely other eastern states. Heterotheca camporum has well-developed serrations along the margins of its distal cauline leaves, which no other species has, although basal leaves in some species may have one or two serrations distally.
|1||Plants 35–70 cm; distal stems and peduncles eglandular or sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular; distal leaves moderately to densely hispido-strigose, usually eglandular, rarely sparsely stipitate-glandular; prairies, sandy banks, limestone bluffs, ledges, along the Mississippi River||Heterotheca camporum var. camporum|
|1||Plants 35–140 cm; distal stems and peduncles moderately to densely stipitate-glandular; distal leaves moderately hispido-strigose, sparsely to moderately stipitate-glandular; roadsides, disturbed sandy habitats, stream banks, glades||Heterotheca camporum var. glandulissima|