Description from Flora of China
Herbs to 1 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched above, unwinged. Leaves discolorous, abaxially grayish white and sparsely cobwebby, adaxially green, rough, and densely covered with ca. 0.5 mm spinules. Lower and middle cauline leaves not seen. Upper leaves of branches sessile, elliptic to lanceolate, 4-8 × ca. 2 cm, pinnately lobed; segments ca. 3 pairs, lanceolate to obliquely triangular-ovate, with 2-4 unequal triangular teeth fringed with spinules less than 0.5 mm and with a 5-10 mm apical spine. Bracts numerous, lanceolate, with spiny teeth and marginal spines to 2 cm. Capitula corymbose, erect. Involucre campanulate, 3-3.5 cm in diam., glabrous. Phyllaries imbricate, in ca. 8 rows, straight, appressed; outer and middle phyllaries elliptic to lanceolate, 8-25 × 2-3 mm, margin above base expanded into yellowish, scarious lacerate wings, apex narrowed into a spine; inner phyllaries lanceolate to linear, apically expanded into a short and narrow, acuminate, and spine-tipped appendage. Florets bisexual. Corolla purplish red. Mature achene unknown. Pappus bristles yellowish, ca. 1.5 mm. Fl. Aug.
Cirsium chrysolepis is allied to C. flavisquamatum Kitamura from Nepal but differs in having cobwebby leaves.
● Mountain slopes; ca. 3500 m. S Xizang (Nyalam).