Description from Flora of China
Plants 40–100 cm, perennial. Taproot stout, woody, branched. Stem erect, much-branched above, branches spreading-ascending, base without fibrous remnant sheaths. Lower leaves linear-lanceolate or long-elliptic, 12–15 × 0.5–0.8 cm, 11–15-nerved, abaxially glaucous, apex rounded-obtuse, apiculate. Upper leaves long-obovate, base cuneate. Umbels 2.5–4 cm across; bracts 3–5, ovate, 3–20 × 2–10 mm, unequal; rays 4–8, 1–3 cm, unequal, slender; bracteoles 5, broadly elliptic or suborbicular, 3–6 × 1.8–4 mm, apex rounded, apiculate, greatly exceeding flowers; umbellules 8–12 mm across, 10–15-flowered; pedicels 0.5–1.5 mm. Petals pale yellow or dark purple. Stylopodium low-conic, discoid, dark yellow or dark purple. Fruit oblong, brown, 2.7–3.5 × 1.7–1.9 mm; ribs prominent, narrowly winged; vittae 3 in each furrow, 4 on commissure. Fl. Jul–Aug, fr. Sep–Oct.
This widespread species exhibits wide variation across its geographic range. Several infraspecific taxa have been described, but these are not always distinct. This, and the following four species are morphologically very similar and further work is needed to define the taxa clearly. At least var. candollei has reputed medicinal value.
Mixed forests on shady slopes, open forests, mountain slopes, grassy places; 1800–3200 m. W Sichuan, S Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, N India, Kashmir, N Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sikkim].