Description from Flora of China
Aplotaxis gnaphalodes Royle ex Candolle, Prodr. 6: 542. 1838; A. sorocephala Schrenk ex Fischer & C. A. Meyer; Saussurea sorocephala (Schrenk ex Fischer & C. A. Meyer) Schrenk.
Herbs 1.5-6(-10) cm tall, perennial, polycarpic, caespitose. Caudex branched at ground level, usually with many leaf rosettes and flowering shoots. Stem solitary, 1-3 mm in diam., erect, simple. Rosette and stem leaves shortly petiolate; petiole purple; leaf blade obovate, spatulate, or linear-oblong, 5-20 × 2-8 mm, abaxially whitish with dark midvein and arachnoid tomentose, adaxially white or brownish arachnoid lanate, base cuneate-attenuate, margin entire, crenate, or obtusely dentate, apex obtuse to rounded. Capitula 5-20, in a hemispheric synflorescence 2-4 cm in diam., sessile. Involucre cylindric, (3-)5-8 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 3 or 4 rows, membranous, straw-colored to light brown, apically dark brown strigose, apex obtuse to acuminate; outer phyllaries ovate-oblong, 7-8 × 2-3.5 mm; middle and inner phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic to linear, 6-9 × 1-2 mm. Receptacle bristles 0.5-1.5 mm. Corolla rose-purple, 8-9 mm, tube 4-5 mm, limb 4-4.5 mm, lobes 2-2.5 mm. Achene brown to dirty white with dark spots, cylindric to obconic, 3-4 mm, smooth, glabrous or gland-dotted. Pappus mouse-gray to blackish; outer bristles 2-4 mm, sometimes reflexed; inner bristles 8-9 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep. 2n = 48*.
The basionym was not validly published by Royle (Ill. Bot. Himal. Mts. 251, t. 59, f. 1. 1835). There was no written description or diagnosis, or reference to such, and the illustration was lacking an analysis (Vienna Code, Art. 32.1(d), 44.1, 42.4).
Alpine scree slopes; 2700-5800 m. Gansu, Qinghai, W Sichuan, S and W Xinjiang, Xizang [NE Afghanistan, NW India, Kashmir, E Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, W Nepal, N Pakistan, Tajikistan].