Centaurea dubia is a perennial herb, 20-80 cm tall, branched, finely hairy or webby when young.
Leaves alternate, stem leaves sessile, lance-shaped, entire or toothed, basal leaves stalked, sometimes lobed, 1.5-4 cm wide, much smaller above.
Flowers pale purple, all discoid, marginal flowers, enlarged, ray-like, with long, narrow petal lobes; flower heads terminal on branches, bracteate base 1.1-1.8 cm high, urn-shaped, mostly taller than wide, bract tips with blackish, regularly pinnate appendage 1-3 mm long, having a spider-like or feather-like appearance.
Fruit dry 1-seeded achenes without plume but inner surface of flower head base densely short-bristly, blooming and fruiting June-Sept.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Along weedy edges, roadsides, meadows.