Annual or biennial herb, up to 1 m tall. Stems stout, bearing rigid hairs which are tuberculate at the base and 3-fid and hooked at the apex. Basal leaves elliptic to oblanceolate, decurrent into a winged petiole; cauline leaves sessile, amplexicaul. Capitula borne in an irregular corymb.
Outer phyllaries 3-5, large, ovate-cordate; inner lanceolate. Flowers yellow. Achenes 2.5-3.5 mm; beak slender, as long as the achene.
At SRGH (on 4 February 2009) there were 3 specimens of Picris echioides; all of which are from a plant grown on at Salisbury Research Station in 1977 originally from a contaminant of carrot seed originating from the Birdseye Factory, at Juliasdale (Nyanga District).
The inclusion of this species in the Zimbabwe flora therefore seems rather tenuous. Clearly, Picris echioides seeds have been introduced into Zimbabwe and have the potential to occur as a weed in carrot crops, but that does not actually seem to have yet occurred.