Description from Flora of China
Saussurea salicifolia (Linnaeus) Candolle var. shensiensis Y. Ling.
Herbs 40-80 cm tall, perennial. Rhizomes procumbent, with many black fibrous roots. Stem solitary, erect, simple or apically few branched. Basal and lower stem leaves withered at anthesis. Middle stem leaves petiolate; petiole to 1 cm; leaf blade ovate, obovate, narrowly ovate-elliptic, or elliptic, 4-13 × 2.5-8 cm, abaxially grayish white and densely tomentose, adaxially green and sparsely strigose, base cuneate, margin serrate, apex acuminate to caudate. Upper stem leaves similar to middle stem leaves but gradually smaller upward on stem, subtending synflorescence. Capitula few to numerous, in a paniculiform or corymbiform synflorescence, pedunculate. Involucre narrowly campanulate to cylindric, 4-5 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 4 or 5 rows, straw-colored or brown, glabrous; outer phyllaries broadly ovate, 1.5-3 × 1-1.5 mm, apex acute; middle phyllaries elliptic, 3-6 × 1-1.5 mm, apex obtuse; inner phyllaries elliptic to broadly linear, 6-8 × 1-1.5 mm, apex obtuse. Corolla purple, 7-8 mm, tube 4-5 mm, limb 2.5-3 mm, lobes 1.5-2 mm. Achene pale brown, ca. 4 mm, glabrous. Pappus pale brown; outer bristles ca. 3 mm, scabrid; inner bristles 6-8 mm. Fl. and fr. Aug-Sep.
● Grassy slopes, montane forests; 1900-3300 m. Gansu, Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan.