Description from Flora of China
Saussurea ussuriensis Maximowicz var. mongolica Franchet, Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat., sér. 2, 6: 61. 1883; S. hopeiensis F. H. Chen; S. matsumurae Nakai; S. mongolica var. rigidior Handel-Mazzetti; S. mongolica f. shansiensis (F. H. Chen) Y. Ling; S. sinuata Komarov var. shansiensis F. H. Chen.
Herbs 30-90 cm tall, perennial. Stem solitary, erect, apically branched, glabrous or sparsely strigose. Lower stem leaves petiolate; petiole 5-16 cm; leaf blade ovate-triangular to ovate, 5-20 × 2-9 cm, pinnately lobed or basal half pinnately lobed and apical part coarsely dentate, abaxially pale green and glabrescent, adaxially green and sparsely strigose but glabrescent, base cordate, apex acute; lateral lobes 1-3 pairs, oblong-elliptic, margin dentate or entire, apex acute to obtuse. Middle and upper stem leaves oblong to narrowly ovate-elliptic, margin coarsely dentate. Capitula numerous, in a corymbiform synflorescence, shortly pedunculate. Involucre narrowly campanulate, 5-7 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 5-7 rows, sparsely arachnoid, apical part saber-shaped and reflexed, apex long acuminate; outer phyllaries ovate, ca. 3 × 1 mm; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate, 7-8 × ca. 2 mm; inner phyllaries narrowly elliptic to linear, ca. 10 × 2 mm. Corolla purplish red, 0.9-1.3 cm, tube 5-6 mm, limb 4-7 mm. Achene brown, cylindric, 4-5 mm, glabrous. Pappus basally pale brown, apically white; outer bristles ca. 3 mm, scabrid; inner bristles 8-10 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct. 2n = 26*.
Saussurea mongolica var. rigidior was described as having pectinate phyllaries just like S. pectinata. For these plants from Hebei (Xiaowutai Shan), Handel-Mazzetti (Acta Horti Gothob. 12: 321. 1938) postulated hybrid origin, with S. mongolica and S. pectinata as parents.
Mountain slopes, forests, thickets, trailsides, grassy slopes; 500-2900 m. Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi [Korea, Mongolia].