Description from Flora of China
Alfredia karelinii Ledebour, nom. illeg. superfl.; A. tianschanica Ruprecht; Carduus tianschanicus (Ruprecht) B. Fedtschenko.
Herbs 40-120 cm tall. Stem purplish red, stout, unbranched or rarely with 1 branch, with sparse appressed long white hairs. Leaves papery, abaxially grayish white and thickly felted, adaxially green, asperulous, and strigose, margin densely ciliate with 1-2 mm spinules. Basal and lower cauline leaves petiolate; petiole 8-10 cm, winged, distally lobed, lobes in 2 or 3 pairs, elliptic to ovate, and small; leaf blade otherwise undivided, ovate, 11-13 × 5-8 cm, base cordate to truncate. Middle cauline leaves similar but sessile; upper cauline leaves narrowly ovate, small, semiamplexicaul. Capitula 1 or 2, erect. Involucre broadly campanulate, 4-6 cm in diam. Outer and middle phyllaries lanceolate to needle-shaped, 1.2-2.4 × 0.3-0.5 cm, middle portion laterally expanded into scarious fimbriate-lacerate wings, apex narrowed into a ca. 1 cm spine; inner phyllaries linear-lanceolate, ca. 3 × 0.3 cm, rigid, scarious, margin sometimes expanded into small fimbriate-lacerate scarious wings. Corolla yellow, ca. 2.2 cm, tube ca. 8 mm. Achene cream-colored variegated with brown, obliquely narrowly obovoid, ca. 7 mm, compressed, inconspicuously multistriate. Pappus bristles to 2 cm, fragile. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
Meadows, steppes, open forests, moist places; 1600-3300 m. Xinjiang (Tian Shan) [Kazakhstan].