Description from Flora of China
Cirsium chinense Gardner & Champion var. australe Diels; C. lineare (Thunberg) Schultz Bipontinus var. intermedium (Pampanini) Petrak; C. lineare var. rigidum Petrak; C. lineare var. spatulatum Petrak; C. lineare var. tenii Petrak; C. lineare var. yunnanense Petrak; C. wallichii Candolle var. intermedium Pampanini.
Herbs 30-150 cm tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched or unbranched, ribbed, unwinged, with long multicellular hairs and felted. Leaves discolorous, surface smooth, abaxially grayish white and densely felted, adaxially green and glabrous or with long crispate hairs. Middle cauline leaves sessile or petiolate; leaf blade ovate, lanceolate, or ± narrowly elliptic, 5-14 × 1-6 cm, pinnately lobed to pinnatipartite at least in proximal half; segments 3-6 pairs, obliquely triangular to obliquely elliptic, with a 3-6 mm apical spine; terminal segment narrowly triangular to linear. Upper cauline leaves similar but gradually smaller upward. Capitula (1 or) few to many, terminal, paniculate-corymbose, not surrounded with pectinately spiny pungent bracts. Involucre ovoid, 2-2.5 cm in diam., glabrous. Phyllaries imbricate, in ca. 7 rows, abaxially with a dark resinous gland; outer phyllaries triangular-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 8-10 mm, tipped with a ca. 1 mm spinule; middle and inner phyllaries lanceolate to broadly linear, 12-17 × 1.2-3 mm; inner phyllaries apically expanded into a scarious, pale to pink, and often denticulate appendage. Florets bisexual. Corolla pink to purple, ca. 1.8 cm, tube ca. 8 mm. Achene ca. 4 mm. Pappus bristles brownish, ca. 1.5 cm. Fl. and fr. May-Nov.
The occurrence of Cirsium chinense reported from Vietnam by K. B. Lê (Fl. Vietnam 7: 454. 2007) is actually C. shansiense.
Forests, thickets, wastelands by rivers, streamsides, roadsides; 1300-3400 m. Anhui, Chongqing, SE Fujian, S Gansu, NE Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, S Hunan, NW Jiangxi, Nei Mongol, E Qinghai, S Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, NE Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Vietnam].