Cirsium griseum H. Léveillé (1913), not (Rydberg) Cockerell (1911); C. heleophilum Petrak; C. mairei (H. Léveillé) H. Léveillé (1913), not Halácsy (1908); C. yunnanense Petrak; Cnicus mairei H. Léveillé.
Herbs 50-100 cm tall, perennial. Stems grayish white, erect, usually branched, unwinged, with dense long multicellular hairs and cobwebby, densely felted below capitula. Leaves rigid, discolorous, abaxially grayish white and densely felted, adaxially greenish, rough, and densely spinulose. Lower to upper cauline leaves sessile, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 12-16 × 6.5-8 cm, pinnately divided, semiamplexicaul; segments ca. 4 pairs, narrowly triangular to lanceolate, basally on one or both sides with a triangular tooth with 1-1.5 mm lateral spinules and a 3-7 mm apical spine, apex narrowed into a 5-7 mm spine. Bracts reduced to spines. Capitula racemose to racemose-corymbose. Involucre broadly campanulate, ca. 3.5 cm in diam., sparsely cobwebby. Phyllaries in ca. 7 rows, lacking wings and scarious appendage; outer phyllaries not much shorter than inner ones; outer and middle phyllaries 10-20 × 3-4 mm, basal portion ovate to elliptic, apical portion subulate and ending in a 0.8-1.3 cm spine; inner phyllaries lanceolate-subulate to linear, ca. 2.5 × 0.1-0.2 cm. Florets bisexual. Corolla white, ca. 2 cm, tube ca. 9 mm. Achene ca. 5 mm. Pappus bristles brownish, to 2 cm. Fl. and fr. May-Sep.
● Mountain valleys, grasslands on mountain slopes; 2800-3000 m. W Guizhou, W Hunan, S Sichuan, Yunnan.