Gymnanthemum esculentum (Hemsley) H. Robinson; Strobocalyx esculenta (Hemsley) H. Robinson et al.; Vernonia arbor H. Léveillé; V. papillosa Franchet.
Shrubs or small trees, 2-6 m tall. Branches terete, ± angled, striate, gray or gray-brown tomentose. Petiole 5-20 mm, densely gray tomentulose; leaf blade oblong-lanceolate or lanceolate, 10-23 × 3-8 cm, thinly papery, abaxially pale, uniformly densely gray pilose to sparsely tomentulose on veins only, adaxially dark green, rather scabrid, papillose, glandular on both surfaces, lateral veins 9-13-paired, adaxially prominent, veinlets reticulate, base cuneate, rarely subrounded, margin mucronate-denticulate, repand, or entire, apex acute or acuminate. Synflorescences terminal, panicles dense, broad. Capitula many, 2-4 mm in diam.; peduncles 2-5 mm or almost absent, slender, densely tomentose. Involucre obconical, 2-3 mm wide, base acute; phyllaries few, ca. 4-seriate, dark green, ovate, ovate-oblong, or oblong, leathery, gray pilose, apex acute or rather acute, mucronulate. Receptacle small, foveolate. Florets 5 or 6; corolla reddish purple, tubular, ca. 7 mm, glandular, dilated toward apex; lobes linear-lanceolate, glandular. Achenes yellowish brown, subcylindric, ca. 3 mm, rather angled, sparsely puberulent and glandular. Pappus 2-seriate, white or sordid white; outer setae short; inner setae 6-7 mm, scabrid. Fl. Jul-Dec.
● Sunny places on slopes, grassy slopes, lax thickets, forests, forest margins; 1000-2700 m. W Guangxi, Guizhou, SW and W Sichuan, Yunnan.
Vernonia esculenta differs from V. bockiana in having smaller capitula with obconical involucres 2-3 mm in diam., 5 or 6 florets, and fewer phyllaries that are ca. 4-seriate, ovate or ovate-oblong, acute, and gray pilose on the margins.