A stout plant, two or three feet high, with large prickly leaves, and more or less covered all over with cottony wool. The flower-head is about two inches long, and nearly as wide, and is a ball of white, cobwebby wool, pierced all over with brown spines, and tipped with wine-colored flowers. This is common on sandy hills, near the coast, from San Francisco south. Yellow-spined Thistle, C. ochrocentrus, found in Nevada and Arizona and as far east as Colorado, has purple flowers and leaves deeply slashed and armed with long yellow spines. This grows at the Grand Canyon.

There are a good many kinds of Anaphalis, natives of the north temperate zone, but only one in North America.