Description from Flora of China
Saussurea aegirophylla Diels; S. cavaleriei H. Léveillé & Vaniot; S. cordifolia var. ombrophila Handel-Mazzetti; S. dutaillyana Franchet.
Herbs 40-150 cm tall, perennial. Stem solitary, erect, apically branched, subglabrous. Basal leaves withered at anthesis. Lower and middle stem leaves petiolate; petiole 8-20 cm; leaf blade cordate, 8-20 × 7-18 cm, both surfaces green, abaxially glabrous or sparsely strigose on veins, adaxially scabrid and sparsely strigose, base deeply cordate, margin coarsely dentate, apex acuminate. Uppermost stem leaves shortly petiolate or sessile; leaf blade ovate, elliptic, or narrowly ovate-elliptic, base rounded to broadly truncate. Capitula usually numerous, in a lax corymbiform synflorescence but rarely solitary, long pedunculate. Involucre campanulate, (0.8-)1.5-2 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 4-6 rows, straw-colored, leathery, conspicuously veined, glabrous or white to brown arachnoid tomentose at margin, apical part green, herbaceous, and reflexed to erect, apex acuminate; outer phyllaries ovate, 2-4(-7) × 2-3 mm; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate, 4-15 × 3-5 mm; inner phyllaries linear, 13-16 × 1.5-2 mm. Receptacle bristles 6-9 mm. Corolla pink to dark purple, (1.2-)1.5-1.7 cm, tube 6-8 mm, limb 8-9 mm, lobes 3-4 mm. Achene brown, cylindric, 5-7 mm, glabrous. Pappus pale brown; outer bristles 2-6 mm, scabrid; inner bristles 1.1-1.5 cm. Fl. and fr. Aug-Oct.
Saussurea dutaillyana, characterized by dense brown indumentum of articulate hairs on stem and petioles, by basal leaves crowded in a rosette, and by ample lax paniculiform synflorescences, may deserve separate taxonomic status. It has been accepted in several provincial floras and is recorded from Chongqing, Henan, Hubei, S Shaanxi (Qin Ling), Sichuan, and Zhejiang.
The following species, Saussurea oligantha, also belongs to this species group and is not well separated from S. cordifolia.
● Montane forests, forest margins; 700-2200 m. Anhui, Chongqing, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang.