Biennials or perennials, glabrous or tomentose. Leaves alternate, toothed or pinnatifid, ending in a callose point. Heads usually small, sessile or peduncled, in corymbs or racemes, sometimes solitary, homogamous, discoid. Involucre globose to campanulate or tubular, bracts in many series, appressed, imbricate, not spiny, sometimes with a scarious apical appendage, inner bracts longer and narrower. Receptacle glabrous or setose, flat or convex, usually bristly. Florets usually rose purple, sometimes white, all bisexual and similar, fertile; corolla tubular, limb 5-lobed. Anthers sagittate at base, filaments glabrous. Style branches linear. Achenes glabrous, oblong, obsoletely 4-angled, apex truncate or crowned with a rim. Pappus bristles 2-seriate, outer ones short scabrous to plumose, deciduous, inner ones plumose, persistent, connate at base.
About 300 species in Eurasia, abundant in the mountains of Asia, few in North America, one southeast Asian species extending to northern Australia; five species in Taiwan.