Description from Flora of China
Cnicus eriophoroides J. D. Hooker, Fl. Brit. India 3: 363. 1881; Cirsium bolocephalum Petrak; C. bolocephalum var. racemosum Petrak; C. bolocephalum subsp. setschwanicum Petrak.
Herbs 1-3 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched above, unwinged, sparsely cobwebby and with long multicellular hairs. Leaves papery, concolorous, green, abaxially glabrous or sparsely cobwebby and with multicellular hairs, adaxially with sparse 3-8 mm spinules and spines but sometimes almost completely smooth. Lower and middle cauline leaves petiolate; leaf blade elliptic, 20-35 × 8-15 cm, toothed or pinnately divided; segments when present 4-8 pairs, elliptic, semiorbicular, or ovate, with 2-5 spines or teeth laterally shortly spiny and with a 0.5-1.5 cm apical spine. Upper cauline leaves similar but sessile. Capitula few, corymbose, nodding to erect. Involucre globose, ca. 5 cm in diam., densely and fluffily lanate. Phyllaries in ca. 6 rows, all of similar length or inner somewhat longer, lacking wings and scarious appendage; outer and middle phyllaries 2-3 × 0.2-0.4 cm, basal portion lanceolate to triangular, apical portion subulate and 1.5-2 cm; inner phyllaries ca. 3.5 × 0.2-0.3 cm, basal portion linear-lanceolate to linear, apical portion subulate and ca. 1.5 cm. Florets bisexual. Corolla purple, ca. 3.5 cm, tube ca. 2.2 cm. Achene dark brown, ca. 5 mm. Pappus bristles ca. 2.5 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
Slopes, thickets, thicket margins, grasslands, meadows, flooded lands, by water; 2000-4100 m. SW Sichuan, SE Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India (Sikkim)].