Description from Flora of China
Herbs 15-45 cm tall, perennial, monocarpic. Caudex to 2 cm in diam., unbranched. Stem solitary, to 2 cm in diam., erect, simple, hidden by leaves, basally covered with fibrous remains of petioles. Rosette and stem leaves petiolate; leaf blade narrowly obovate-elliptic, 5-15 × 1-2 cm, both surfaces green or blackish purple, abaxially brownish white tomentose, adaxially arachnoid in basal part but glabrous in apical part, margin dentate, apex acute. Uppermost stem leaves narrowly ovate-elliptic to linear, 3-6 × 0.2-0.5 cm, both surfaces densely yellowish white or blackish lanate, margin entire, apex acute. Capitula numerous, in an interrupted spiciform synflorescence to 8 cm in diam., hidden in lanate indumentum, pedunculate. Involucre campanulate, 1.5-2 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 3 or 4 rows, apically lanate, apex acuminate-caudate; outer phyllaries subulate, 2-2.5 × 0.2-0.3 cm; middle and inner phyllaries subulate-linear, 15-20 × 1-2 mm. Receptacle bristles 1-2 mm. Corolla dark purple, 0.9-1.3 cm, tube 1.5-3 mm, limb 7-8 mm, lobes 1.5-3 mm. Achene dark brown, obconic, 2.5-3(-5.5) mm, smooth, glabrous. Pappus light brown or blackish; outer bristles 2-5 mm; inner bristles 1-1.2 cm. Fl. and fr. Aug-Oct.
The whole plant of Saussurea laniceps is used medicinally, and the species is threatened in many regions by over-collecting.
Alpine scree slopes; 3200-5500 m. SW Sichuan, SE Xizang, NW Yunnan [India (Sikkim), ?N Myanmar].