Prairie dock prefers moist to mesic prairie soils. One or more naked flowering stalks rise 3' to 10' from the base of the plant. The stalks divide into a panicle of 2–2½" yellow flowerheads. Prairie dock blooms from late summer to early fall, and lasts about a month for an individual plant.
Birds are attracted to the seeds. One of the plant's common names, "Rosinweed," is due to the fact that upon injury, resin flows from the wound, giving the plant a sweet smell.