Description from Flora of China
Cryptothladia kokonorica (K. S. Hao) M. J. Cannon.
Roots robust, ca. 40 cm, up to 3 cm in diam., simple or remotely branched. Caudexes usually branched, covered with brown-black remnants of old leaves. Stems usually caespitose, 20-70 cm tall, simple or 2- or 3-branched, ridged and glabrous below, villous above. Leaves on sterile shoots 5 or 6, rosulate, linear-lanceolate, 7-20 × 1-1.5 cm, both surfaces glabrous, base decurrent into petiole, margin coarsely and irregularly pinnatifid, with triangular, spinose lobes, apex acuminate. Leaves on fertile stems similar, in 2 or 3 whorls of 4, narrowly lanceolate, base amplexicaul, smaller upward. Inflorescence of up to 8 whorls of 16-20 flowers, compact in bud, but separated after anthesis, each with 4 involucral bracts, these narrowly ovate, 2-3 cm, margin yellow spinose, apex acuminate; involucels campanulate, hidden in bracts, 1.2-1.5 cm, prominently veined, stalked, margin with more than 10 unequal spines up to 7 mm. Calyx cup-shaped, 8-15 mm, exserted ca. 3 mm above involucral bracts, outside glabrous, inside villous, base barbate, 2-segmented, each segment 2- or 3-lobed; lobes lanceolate, apex often spinose. Corolla pale green, 6-8 mm, included in calyx, outside glabrous; limb 2-lipped, 5-lobed. Stamens inserted at upper part of corolla tube; filaments short, villous; staminodes inserted at base of corolla tube, subsessile. Style included, slightly longer than stamens; stigma capitate. Achenes brown, columnar, 6-7 mm, smooth, angular, apex obliquely truncate. Fl. Jun-Aug, fr. Aug-Sep.
● Stony slopes, meadows, flood plains; 3000-4500 m. S Gansu, Qinghai, W Sichuan, E and S Xizang (west to Burang, north to Baingoin, Sogxian).