Centaurea jacea is a perennial herb, 30-80 cm tall.
Leaves of winter rosette stalked, variable, 1.5-4 cm wide, stem leaves alternate, lance-shaped, sometimes toothed or lobed, becoming smaller upward.
Flowers pink-purple, all tubular, the outer ones longer, ray-like, bracteate base 1.2-1.8 cm long and wide, bracts wide, tips with brown, irregularly fringed appendage with a pale margin, June-Sept.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, crowned by short bristles.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open, weedy sites.