Plants 10-50(-70) cm (commonly cespitose; rhizomes compact, crownlike, woody, fibrous-rooted). Stems proximally herbaceous or slightly woody, eglandular. Leaves separated by evident internodes; blades uniform, linear to narrowly oblong or oblanceolate, 12-40 mm, margins green, faces glabrous, eglandular. Heads usually in loose, corymbiform arrays, sometimes borne singly. Involucres 6-9 mm. Disc florets bisexual, fertile; corollas (4.5-)5-7 mm. Cypselae (2.5-)3.5-4 mm, eglandular. 2n = 18. Flowering (Jun-)Sep-Nov. Sandy habitats, often seeps or other moist sites, commonly in longleaf pine communities along Gulf Coast, or inland sites of rocky hills, ridges, bluffs, sometimes in clay, in oak pine woods, sandy cracks and ledges of acid rocks in stream falls or rapids, open jackpine stands on sand; 5-800(-900) m; N.B., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y, N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Ionactis linariifolia was noted by M. L. Fernald (1950) to occur in 's. Minn.'; G. B. Ownbey and T. Morley (1991) did not include it for Minnesota.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent in a few of the northwestern counties associated with black and white oak, on dunes, sandy ridges, and knolls. Very rare on the crests of ridges in a few of our southern counties. It has been reported also from Floyd, La Porte, Marshall, Putnam, and Vigo Counties.
Plants with a short caudex, rarely with creeping rhizomes as well; stems several, wiry, 1-5(-7) dm, finely puberulent, becoming tomentose-puberulent upward; lvs numerous and similar, firm, linear or nearly so, entire, minutely scaberulous, scabrous-ciliate on the margins, nerveless except for the prominent midrib, 1.2-4 cm נ1.2-4 mm, the lowest ones soon deciduous; heads solitary, or more often several in a mostly corymbiform infl; invol 6-9 mm, its bracts strongly imbricate, firm, keeled, greenish upward but scarcely herbaceous, finely scaberulous like the lvs, acute to broadly rounded, the inner ±fringed-ciliate upward and usually purple-margined; rays 10-20, violet (white), broad and showy, 7-12 mm; disk yellow or anthocyanic; achenes copiously long-hairy; pappus double, the inner bristles elongate, firm, and tawny, the outer ca 1 mm or less; 2n=18. Dry ground and open woods, especially in sandy soil; Me. and Que. to n. Fla., w. to Wis., Mo., Ark., and Tex. (Ionactis l.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.