Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial. Rhizome repent, woody, with short brown squamate runners. Stems solitary or a few caespitose, erect or ascending, 30-60(-100) cm, usually thickish, unbranched, rarely branching on broken or normal stems, ash-gray cottony tomentose, base woody. Lower leaves withered by anthesis, apex obtuse; middle leaves expanding, linear or linear-lanceolate, 5-10 cm × 3-12 mm, rarely wider, base attenuate or sharply narrowed, somewhat amplexicaul, margin flat, apex acuminate with small tip; upper leaves gradually smaller with long tip; all leaves slightly leathery, abaxially densely ash-gray to reddish brown lanuginous, adaxially arachnoid or later glabrous, 1-veined, or 3- or 5-veined. Capitula numerous, arranged in compound corymbiform (or corymbiform) synflorescences; peduncle 4-17 mm. Involucre broadly campanulate or semispherical, 5-8 × 8-13 mm; phyllaries 5-7-seriate, somewhat expanding, upper parts white; outer phyllaries up to 1/3 of involucre, ovate, cottony tomentose; middle ones ovate to oblong, ca. 5 × 2.5 mm, up to 3 mm wide in male plants, apex rounded or acuminate; innermost ones linear-lanceolate, ca. 0.5 mm wide, with a claw up to 3/4 of full length. Receptacle alveolate. Predominantly female capitula with many florets, with 3-20 central male florets and many rows of marginal female florets. Predominantly male capitula with many florets, with all central male florets or few rows of marginal female florets. Corolla 3-5 mm. Pappus slightly exserted from corolla, filiform in female florets, incrassate at tip of apex, serrulate in male florets. Achene oblong, ca. 0.7 mm, with glandular dots. Fl. and fr. Jul-Nov. 2n = 28*, 42, 56*.
Conifer and Betula forests, dry soils, subalpine or low mountain grasslands or shrublands, rocky valleys and roadsides, slopes, banks; 300-3400 m. E, S, and W Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, E and W Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Qinghai, S Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia (Far East), N Thailand, Vietnam; North America; widely introduced in Europe].