Body with a large disc and 10-12 (rarely 8-13) arms ; R/r: 2; up to 340 mm in diameter. Disc usually coloured purplish-red, the arms whitish with a broad red transverse band. The oral side is coloured whitish.
The dorsal skeleton consists of narrow bars forming an irregular reticulum of plates, enclosing fairly large membranaceous spaces in which several papulae are found. The large and broom-shaped paxillae are fairly distant and have rather long, slender spines. The marginal paxillae are large and conspicuous, and are arranged in a single row (C. papposus skeleton).
The long and slender furrow spines vary in number (mostly 3-5). There is a transverse series of 5-9 somewhat long spines on the adambulacral plates. There are no pedicellariae.
It is found from the 0-1200 m.
This species is distributed from the Arctic down to the English Channel, also on both east and Pacific coasts of North America.