Montanoa echinacea was originally described by S. F. Blake in 1937 in Brittonia. It is a shrub that grows up to 4 m tall with very consistent dark green leaves. Its flower heads are composed of ray florets with white corollas tinged with purple and disc florets with yellow and grey black corollas. Reproductive parts are mostly yellow with black tips and appendages. For more information, see the diagnostic description below.