Very hairy, usually single-stemmed perennial herb with milky sap. Flowerheads few to many, terminal, each with a peduncle (stem), in open clusters, yellow, small, about ½ inch across. There are 20–40 florets per head. Blooms May–October. Basal leaves broadly obovate, very hairy, rough, variable in length to 8 inches. Stem leaves alternate, smaller, becoming sessile, also very hairy.
Similar species: There are 4 species of Hieracium recorded for Missouri. Long-haired hawkweed (H. longipilum) occurs in a broad band from southwest to northeast Missouri and prefers open areas. It has spreading hairs about ½ to ¾ inch long. Sticky hawkweed (H. scabrum) is scattered to common in the eastern half of the state. It has 40–100 florets per head.