Description from Flora of China
Cirsium subuliforme C. Shih, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 22: 391. 1984, not G. B. Ownbey (1982).
Herbs 1.5-2 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, ribbed, unwinged, sparsely cobwebby, often densely cobwebby below capitula. Leaves papery, discolorous, abaxially grayish white and densely felted, adaxially green to yellowish green, very rough, and covered with dense 1-3 mm spinules and scattered 4-11 mm spines. Lower cauline leaves with winged petiole to 14 cm, wing undulate to dissected into semiorbicular segments and with 1-1.5 cm spines or spine-tipped teeth; leaf blade elliptic, ca. 33 × 18 cm, pinnatifid; segments 7 or 8 pairs, elliptic, with 3-5 unequal triangular teeth fringed with ca. 1 mm spinules and with a ca. 1 cm apical spine. Middle and upper cauline leaves sessile, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, gradually smaller upward, semiamplexicaul, margin entire or toothed and with 5-10 mm spines. Bracts reduced to spines. Capitula corymbose to racemose. Involucre campanulate, 3-4 cm in diam., glabrous. Phyllaries in ca. 7 rows, ca. 18 × 1.5-2 mm, all of similar length or somewhat longer inwardly, lacking wings and scarious appendage, basal portion linear, lanceolate, or elliptic, apical portion subulate and 3-10 mm. Florets bisexual. Corolla purple, ca. 3 cm, tube ca. 1.9 cm. Achene ca. 5 mm. Pappus bristles brownish to dirty white, ca. 1.8 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Aug.
● Grasslands on mountain slopes, thickets in river valleys, forests; 1500-2500 m. SE Xizang, NW Yunnan.