Description from Flora of China
Saussurea cana var. angustifolia Ledebour; S. fruticulosa Karelin & Kirilov.
Herbs 8-25 cm tall, perennial, densely caespitose. Caudex much branched, with many leaf rosettes and flowering shoots. Stems erect, simple or apically branched. Rosette and lower stem leaves petiolate; petiole 1.5-3 cm; leaf blade narrowly elliptic, linear-oblong, or linear, 1.5-10 × 0.2-1.5 cm, abaxially grayish white and densely tomentose, adaxially grayish green and sparsely tomentose, margin entire, dentate, or pinnately lobed; lateral lobes or lateral teeth few, small, apex acuminate. Middle and upper stem leaves petiolate or sessile; leaf blade gradually smaller upward on stem. Uppermost stem leaves sessile, linear. Capitula 4-20, in a corymbiform synflorescence, shortly pedunculate. Involucre narrowly cylindric, 4-8 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 4-7 rows, apically purplish red, sparsely arachnoid, apex acute to obtuse; outer phyllaries ovate, 3-3.5 × ca. 2 mm; middle phyllaries ovate to narrowly elliptic, 3.5-9 × 1.5-2 mm; inner phyllaries linear, 9-10 × ca. 1.5 mm. Receptacle bristles subulate, to 8 mm. Corolla pale red, 1.2-1.3 cm, gland-dotted, tube 6-7 mm, limb 6-7 mm. Achene brown, cylindric, 4-7 mm, glabrous. Pappus white; outer bristles 2-3 mm; inner bristles 7-11 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep.
River valleys, rocky and dry mountain slopes; 800-2800 m. Gansu, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Russia (Siberia)].