Aplotaxis obvallata Candolle, Prodr. 6: 541. 1838; Saussurea obvallata var. orientalis Diels.
Herbs 15-80 cm tall, perennial. Caudex stout, usually unbranched. Stem solitary, 4-14 mm in diam., erect, simple. Basal and lower stem leaves petiolate; leaf blade ovate, elliptic-oblong, or obovate, 7-32 × 1-6.5 cm, both surfaces pilose and glandular hairy but glabrescent, base attenuate, margin subentire to sinuate-dentate, apex obtuse to acute. Middle and upper stem leaves sessile, narrowly elliptic to ovate, 5-16 × 1.5-8 cm, base semiamplexicaul. Uppermost stem leaves elliptic or ovate, boat-shaped, 5-15 × 1.5-9 cm, membranous, enclosing synflorescence and forming a lanternlike head of 4-14 cm in diam., both surfaces pale yellow. Capitula 2-16, in a corymbiform synflorescence 3.5-9 cm in diam., pedunculate or subsessile. Involucre globose to campanulate, 1-3 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 3-5 rows, straw-colored with dark margin and apex, pilose to glabrescent, apex acute to acuminate; outer phyllaries triangular-ovate, 5-15 × 2-6 mm; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate, 7-15 × 1-4 mm; inner phyllaries linear, 8-14 × 1-2 mm. Receptacle bristles 1-5 mm. Corolla purple, 0.9-1.3 cm, tube 4-7 mm, limb 4.5-6 mm, lobes 1.8-3.3 mm. Achene straw-colored with dark spots, cylindric, 2-5 mm, 4-7-ribbed. Pappus dirty white-yellowish; outer bristles 2-5 mm; inner bristles 7.5-11 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 32*.
Grasslands, rocky places on mountain slopes, by streams, scree slopes; 3200-5200 m. E Qinghai, W Sichuan, SE Xizang, NW Yunnan [Bhutan, NE and NW India, Kashmir, N Myanmar, Nepal].
The whole plant of Saussurea obvallata is used medicinally.
The combination Saussurea obvallata by Schultz Bipontinus preceded the same name by Edgeworth (Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20: 76. Aug 1846) by one month.