Description from Flora of China
Cnicus monocephalus Vaniot, Bull. Acad. Int. Géogr. Bot. 12: 122. 1903; Cirsium cavaleriei (H. Léveillé) H. Léveillé; C. provostii (Franchet) Petrak var. monocephalum (Vaniot) Petrak; C. provostii var. oleracioides Petrak; C. provostii var. racemosum Petrak; C. provostii var. spinosum Petrak; Cnicus cavaleriei H. Léveillé.
Herbs 0.8-1.5 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched above, ribbed, unwinged, sparsely cobwebby and with long multicellular hairs. Leaves concolorous, green, surface smooth and glabrous or with sparse long multicellular hairs. Middle cauline leaves sessile, ± narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, 15-25 × 5-9 cm, pinnatipartite; segments 5-10 pairs, ± narrowly lanceolate to triangular, margin spiny or with teeth tipped with a 3-10 mm spine. Upper cauline leaves similar but smaller. Capitula few, corymbose to paniculate. Involucre broadly campanulate to hemispheric, 4-4.5 cm in diam., sparsely cobwebby. Phyllaries in ca. 8 rows, 2.2-3.5 × 0.3-0.4 cm, all of similar length, lacking wings and scarious appendage, basal portion linear, apical portion subulate, patent to reflexed, and narrowed into a long spine. Florets bisexual. Corolla white or yellowish, ca. 1.4 cm, tube ca. 7 mm. Achene brown, ca. 3.5 mm. Pappus bristles to 1.7 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
● Mountain valleys, forest margins, forests, thickets, wastelands; 700-2000 m. Chongqing, S Gansu, Guizhou, SW Hubei, S Shaanxi (Qin Ling), S Shanxi, Sichuan.