A plant branched and leafy in lower part with long leafless stalks bearing flower heads of 3-7 yellow or yellow and red-brown, drooping rays surrounding a long, red-brown central disk. Its sombrero-shaped flower heads, is usually 1 1/2 ft. tall but can reach 3 ft. Flower petals range from dark red and yellow, to all red or all yellow. The flowers central brown disk protrudes 1/2 to 2 in. above the drooping petals. Leaves on the lower portion of the stem are feathery and deeply cleft.
The colorful flower heads, resembling the traditional broad-brimmed, high-centered hat worn during Mexican fiestas, often bloom by the thousands. Green Prairie Coneflower (R. tagetes) has a spherical or oblong central disk and leaves closer to the flower head.