Eucephalus elegans Nutt. is native to open meadows, aspen forests, rocky open slopes in the mountains in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah (Allen 2006 FNA). The species is distinguished by its 30–70 cm tall scabrous stems, moderately scabrellous (and sometimes glandular) linear-oblong or linear-lanceolate leaves (2-6 cm long) on both faces, and 5-8 violet to purple rays. The species is diploid (2n=18).
The species has often been treated as Aster perelegans A. Nelson & J. F. Macbride and sometimes Eucephalus perelegans (A. Nelson & J. F. Macbride) W. A. Weber.