A medium to large species. Plants are green, yellow-brown to dull coppery red, sometimes with a purplish tint. The outer capitulum branches are swollen and smooth in outline, the leaves with flat edges, that sheath and clasp those above. At least some of these branches are curved, as viewed from above, with the leaves towards the branch tip quite tightly appressed to each other, forming a pointed end. Branch leaves are large and not or only very slightly turned to one side when viewed from above. Fascicles are of 3-4 similar looking branches, sometimes with a fifth vestigial branch. Stems are green, dark brown or black. Stem leaves are large, concave, parallel-sided below, or wider above the base, with a rounded tip. However, they can appear somewhat triangular in the field, owing to the concave shape and wide insertion on the stem. They are usually shorter and less concave than the branch leaves. Capsules are occasional.