Description from Flora of China
Cnicus verutus D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 167. 1825; Cirsium involucratum Candolle, nom. illeg. superfl.
Herbs 1-1.5 m tall, perennial. Stems erect, branched, unwinged, with long multicellular hairs. Leaves concolorous, green, abaxially glabrous or sparsely cobwebby and with long multicellular hairs, adaxially rough and sparsely to densely spinulose. Middle cauline leaves sessile, oblanceolate, 15-20 × 3-9 cm, pinnatipartite, semiamplexicaul; segments ca. 10 pairs, ovate to elliptic, with unequal triangular teeth with 1-2 mm lateral spinules and a 3-5 mm apical spine, basal teeth sometimes spiniform. Upper cauline leaves similar but ovate to narrowly elliptic, segments or teeth with a 5-10 mm apical spine. Bracts ovate, margin spiny or with spiny teeth. Capitula corymbose. Involucre campanulate, 3-3.5 cm in diam., glabrous or sparsely cobwebby. Phyllaries imbricate, in ca. 7 rows, lacking wings and scarious appendage; outer and middle phyllaries 1.2-2.5 × 0.2-0.3 cm, basal portion triangular to lanceolate, apical portion subulate, 1-1.2 cm, and patent to reflexed; inner phyllaries linear-lanceolate, ca. 2.5 × 0.2 cm, apex long acuminate. Florets bisexual. Corolla reddish purple, ca. 2.8 cm, tube ca. 1.5 cm. Achene dark, ca. 3.5 mm. Pappus bristles brownish, to 2 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep.
Slopes, forests, forest margins; 2900-3900 m. Xizang [Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam].