Description from Flora of China
Cirsium hilgendorfii (Franchet & Savatier) Makino; C. provostii (Franchet) Petrak; Cnicus hilgendorfii Franchet & Savatier; C. pendulus (Fischer ex Candolle) Maximowicz; C. provostii Franchet.
Herbs 1-3 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched above, stout, unwinged, sparsely cobwebby and with long multicellular hairs. Leaves concolorous, surface smooth, green, glabrous. Basal and lower cauline leaves sessile or with winged petiole; leaf blade ± narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, 40-50 × ca. 20 cm, bipinnatipartite; primary segments 5-7 pairs; ultimate lobes obliquely triangular, fringed and tipped with ca. 3 mm spines; terminal lobe of segments narrowly lanceolate to broadly linear. Middle and upper cauline leaves sessile, gradually smaller upward, semiamplexicaul. Capitula several, terminal, racemose-paniculate, nodding. Involucre campanulate, 3.5-5 cm in diam., glabrous. Phyllaries imbricate, in ca. 10 rows, lacking an abaxial resinous gland, marginal spinules, wings, and scarious appendage; outer and middle phyllaries 1-4 × 0.1-0.3 cm, basal portion triangular to lanceolate, apical portion subulate and reflexed; inner and innermost phyllaries lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 1.2-2.5 × ca. 0.2 cm, apex acuminate-subulate. Florets bisexual. Corolla purple to red, ca. 2.2 cm, tube filiform, ca. 1.6 cm. Achene ca. 4 mm. Pappus bristles dirty white, ca. 2.2 cm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep. 2n = 34.
Grasslands in mountain valleys and on mountain slopes, forests, forest margins, streamsides, near villages, rock crevices; 300-2300 m. SE Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shanxi, WC Yunnan [Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia].