Description from Flora of China
Cnicus souliei Franchet, J. Bot. (Morot) 11: 21. 1897.
Herbs, stemless, perennial. All leaves basal, rosulate, petiolate, concolorous, green, smooth, with long multicellular hairs particularly along veins; petiole 1.5-4 cm, unwinged or with discontinuous wing; leaf blade ± narrowly elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate, or oblanceolate, 8-21 × 2-6 cm, pinnately lobed to pinnatipartite; segments 7-11 pairs, ovate-lanceolate, elliptic, or broadly triangular, toothed; teeth with a 2-5 mm apical spinule or spine; terminal segment largest. Peduncles short. Capitula few to many, clustered in center of rosette. Involucre campanulate, 3-5 cm in diam., glabrous. Phyllaries in 3-5 rows, lacking wings and scarious appendage, all of similar length; outer and middle phyllaries narrowly triangular, 1.8-2.3 × 0.1-0.2 cm, pectinately fringed with 2-3 mm spinules, tipped with a slender ca. 5 mm spine; inner phyllaries ca. 2.5 × 0.2 cm, not spinulose. Florets bisexual. Corolla purplish red, ca. 2.3 cm, tube ca. 1.8 cm. Achene dark, ca. 5 mm. Pappus bristles dirty white to brownish, to 2 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep.
Forest margins, roadsides, fallow fields, flooded lands, fields, moist places by water; 1900-4800 m. Gansu, S Ningxia, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang [India (Sikkim)].