Description from Flora of China
Sphaeranthus hirtus Willdenow; S. mollis Roxburgh.
Plants rank-smelling. Stems 10-45 cm tall with 4 irregularly and sharply toothed wings, minutely stipitate glandular and whitish pubescent. Leaves oblanceolate or spatulate, 2.5-6 × 0.8-2.5 cm, minutely stipitate glandular and white lanate on both surfaces, base semiamplexicaul and strongly decurrent, margin rather irregularly biserrate-dentate, apex obtuse or acute, apiculate, attenuate. Clusters of capitula ovoid-globose, ca. 12 × 10 mm; capitulum bracts linear-lanceolate, 4-5 mm, ciliate, hispid and stipitate glandular, apex finely acuminate. Phyllaries ca. 12, linear-oblong to linear-spatulate, more scarious and less glandular than bracts. Marginal florets 10-15; central florets 2 or 3; corollas purplish, ca. 2.4 mm. Achenes ca. 1 mm, puberulent. Fl. Dec-Apr. 2n = 20.
Sandy banks along rivers, grasslands, thickets; 700-1000 m. Yunnan [Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam; Africa, Australia].