Height up to 2 m. Maculatum means “spotted” and refers to the stems which are often purple-spotted or completely purple. Stems bear narrow, pointed saw-toothed leaves, up to 20 cm long. Leaves occur in whorls of 3 or 4. Both the stems and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered in short curly hairs. The fluffy light pink inflorescence at the top of the stem is a rounded mass of hundreds of tiny flower heads. Each flower head is just over 1 cm long and surrounded at its base by 2 or 3 rows of tiny scale-like bracts (modified or specialized leaf around the flower). The flower head encloses up to 22 tiny disc flowers. When the flower head opens, hair-like stigmas (female reproductive structure) from the disc flowers can be seen protruding from the top of the head. Achenes (seed capsules) are 3-5 mm long containing a single seed. Achenes possess a tuft of hair-like bristles to allow for wind dispersal.