Description from Flora of China
Carlina longifolia Reichenbach (1830), not Viviani (1824); C. longifolia var. pontica Boissier; C. vulgaris Linnaeus var. longifolia Grabowski; C. vulgaris var. microcephala Ledebour.
Herbs 20-120 cm tall, biennial. Stem solitary, apically branched, weakly cobwebby. Basal leaves long petiolate. Cauline leaves sessile, undivided, green, concolorous or abaxially paler, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 4-15 × 0.5-2 cm, ± thickly papery, glabrous or abaxially sparsely cobwebby, margin with spinules alternating with distant groups of stouter spines. Uppermost cauline leaves grading into bracts. Bracts very numerous, surrounding capitulum; outer bracts similar to leaves, green, cobwebby; inner bracts gradually smaller upward, brown or dark purple, progressively reduced to bipinnate spines. Capitula 1 to several, corymbose. Involucre hemispheric-obconic, 3.5-4.5 cm in diam. Phyllaries linear, margin entire; outer phyllaries few, completely hidden by bracts, abaxially densely sericeous cobwebby, margins long interwoven ciliate, distal portion purplish, apex acuminate; inner phyllaries much longer, much exceeding florets, abaxially sparsely cobwebby, margin proximally appressed ciliate, distal portion adaxially yellow, scarious, spreading hygroscopically and showy when dry. Corolla purple, 7-9 mm. Achene oblong, 2-4 mm. Pappus bristles connate to varying lengths in groups of 2-4, all basally united into a ring. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep. 2n = 20.
Dry meadows, thickets, river terraces; ca. 1000 m. N Xinjiang (Burqin) [Kazakhstan, Russia; Europe].