Description from Flora of China
Saussurea acropilina Diels.
Herbs 25-90 cm tall, perennial. Stems solitary or sometimes 2, erect, simple or apically branched. Basal leaves withered at anthesis. Lower and middle stem leaves petiolate; petiole 2-8 cm, not winged, glabrous; leaf blade broadly ovate, 5-11 × 3-8 cm, abaxially pale green and glabrous, adaxially dark green, scabrid, and strigose, base cordate to rounded, margin dentate, apex acuminate. Upper stem leaves shortly petiolate or sessile, gradually smaller upward on stem; leaf blade ovate to narrowly ovate-elliptic, base cuneate, apex acuminate. Capitulum usually solitary, terminal on stem or sometimes 2-5 in a lax corymbiform synflorescence, long pedunculate. Involucre broadly campanulate, 2-2.5 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 5-7 rows, straw-colored, tinged purple, puberulent; outer phyllaries ovate, 8-18 × 2-3 mm, apical part green, herbaceous, long acuminate, and reflexed; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate, 8-12 × 2.5-3 mm, apical part patent to reflexed; inner phyllaries linear, 14-16 × 1-1.5 mm, apex acuminate and erect. Receptacle bristles 6-8 mm. Corolla purple, 1.4-1.5 cm, tube 8-9 mm, limb 5-6 mm, lobes 3-3.5 mm. Achene brown, subcylindric, ca. 5 mm, glabrous. Pappus pale brown; outer bristles 1-3 mm, scabrid; inner bristles 1.1-1.3 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
The records of Saussurea populifolia from SE Xizang and NW Yunnan are doubtful. These records may belong to one-headed specimens of S. cordifolia or S. oligantha.
● Grasslands on mountain slopes, marshes; 1700-3600 m. Chongqing, Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan, ?SE Xizang, ?NW Yunnan.