V. encelioides is an erect annual reaching 30 cm and up to 160 cm and grows from a taproot system. Leaves are toothed or lobed and have two growth patterns: lower leaves are opposite and triangular, while the upper leaves are alternate and lance shaped. Fine white hairs are present on the underside of leaves and on the stem. Flower heads are bright yellow and found on elongated stalks and resemble small sunflowers, and are 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. This species originates from North and Central America.