Description from Flora of China
Saponaria pungens Ledebour, Icon. Pl. 1: . 1829.
Plants 15--35 cm tall. Main root stout. Stems globose caespitose, basally branched, tomentulose. Leaves horizontal or reflexed, subulate-needlelike, 2--4 cm × 1--1.5 mm, sparsely tomentulose; leaf axils with dwarf, spinose, sterile shoots. Corymb or capitulum terminal, 2--5 cm in diam. Pedicel very short; bracts leaflike, usually reflexed distally, hairy. Calyx sometimes red, tubular, 6--7 × 1--1.5 mm, white hirsute, 5-veined; calyx teeth broadly triangular, ca. 1 mm, margin membranous proximally, ciliate, apex subulate-spinose. Petals red or reddish, elliptic-oblanceolate, ca. 1.2 cm × 1.5 mm; claw glabrous; limb apex obtuse-rounded. Stamens exserted, ca. 1.4 cm. Ovules 4. Style exserted. Capsule not seen. Fl. Jun--Aug.
In FRPS, Acanthophyllum spinosum (Desfontaines) C. A. Meyer was treated as a synonym of A. pungens . However, the present account follows Schiman-Czeika (in Rechinger, Fl. Iran. 163: 285–286. 1988) in treating A. spinosum (including A. fontanesii Boissier) as a separate species restricted to Afghanistan and Iran.
Rocky mountain slopes, sandy places; 400--1300 m. N Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Mongolia].