Description from Flora of China
Serratula caspia Pallas, Reise Russ. Reich. 2: 743. 1773; Karelinia caspia f. angustifolia Smoljaninova; K. caspia f. ovalifolia Smoljaninova; Pluchea caspia (Pallas) O. Hoffmann ex Paulsen.
Perennials. Stems to 1.5 m tall, erect, terete, ribbed, leafy up to synflorescences, mainly in upper portion, corymbosely branched, gray-blue, glabrous or shortly pubescent, branches alternate, almost of equal height, scabrid. Leaves alternate, simple, sessile, oblong, 2-6 × 0.5-1.5 cm, glabrous, scabrid, uneven at margin, apex acuminate, upper leaves basally cordate, semiamplexicaul-auriculate. Capitula 1.3-2 × 0.8-2 cm, many flowered, arranged in terminal corymbiform synflorescences, 2-9; peduncles 7-25 × ca. 1 mm, scabrid. Involucre cylindric-campanulate, 13-15 × 7-10 mm; phyllaries 6- or 7-seriate, light brown, sometimes reddish at apex, imbricate, rigid (subleathery), appressed, glabrous inside, with strong short appressed gray pubescence outside, margin with ciliate hairs, longer in inner phyllaries, outer ones ovate or ovate-oblong, 5-8 × 3-4 mm, middle lanceolate, ca. 10 × 2 mm, inner sublinear, 10-15 × ca. 1 mm, acuminate. Receptacle flat, with long hairs. Marginal florets multiseriate, carpogenous, reddish, 10-12 mm, with filiform, ± heteromerous, 4-dentate corolla; tube ca. 10 × 0.5 mm in upper portion. Style as long as tube, thin, flat, glabrous, with 2-lobed stigma, lobes reddish, thin, flat, 3-5 mm, ascending, slightly divergent, glabrous. Disk florets sterile, 10-20, reddish, with 5-dentate corolla, 10-12 × ca. 1 mm in upper portion, denticles ca. 1 mm, lanceolate, acuminate. Anthers oblong, ca. 2 × 0.3 mm, glabrous, united in a tube, surrounding style, basally with short entire appendages, filaments 5-6 × ca. 0.25 mm, flat, glabrous, attached to base of corolla tube. Style ca. 15 mm, filiform, ca. 0.3 mm wide, with closely arranged fine mammillae up to half of length, stigma bipartite with short (ca. 0.5 mm) upright reddish lobes, covered with mammillae; ovary cylindric, ca. 1.5 × 0.3 mm, slightly flattened, smooth, glabrous. Achenes dark brown, cylindric, slightly recurved, 1.5-2 × ca. 0.3 mm, narrowed to base, triquetrous, with a ring at base, glabrous. Pappus white, 9-14 mm, sinuate at base, monostichous; in female florets consisting of numerous very thin, fine, often crenate hairs; in bisexual florets of finely crenate, slightly barbate-thickened hairs at apex. Fl. Jul-Sep, fr. Sep-Oct.
Gobi Desert, dunes, saline meadows; 900-1300 m. Gansu, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan; SW Asia (Iran, Turkey)].