Description from Flora of China
Serratula salsa Pallas, Reise Russ. Reich. 3: 607. 1776; Heterotrichum salsum (Pallas) M. Bieberstein; S. crassifolia Candolle.
Herbs 15-50 cm tall, perennial. Stems solitary or several, branched above middle. Basal and lower stem leaves petiolate; leaf blade ovate to broadly elliptic, 5-30 × 2-6(-12) cm, fleshy, lyrate-pinnately parted or pinnately lobed, both surfaces green, abaxially gland-dotted, adaxially sparsely strigose or glabrous; lateral lobes elliptic to triangular, margin entire or subentire; terminal lobe triangular, sagittate, or hastate, large, margin sinuate-dentate or entire. Middle and upper stem leaves sessile, oblong, linear-oblong, or narrowly ovate, margin entire or sparsely dentate. Capitula numerous, in a corymbiform synflorescence, pedunculate. Involucre narrowly cylindric, 4-5 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 5-7 rows, arachnoid, glabrescent, apex obtuse to subacute; outer phyllaries ovate, 2-3 × 2-2.5 mm; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate, 3-10 × 1.5-2 mm; inner phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic, 10-12 × 1-2 mm. Receptacle bristles subulate, 4-4.5 mm. Corolla pale purple, (1-)1.3-1.6 cm, tube 7-9 mm, limb 6-7 mm. Achene reddish brown, cylindric, 2.5-3 mm, glabrous. Pappus white; outer bristles ca. 3 mm; inner bristles (0.9-)1.3-1.5 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 28.
The basionym, Serratula salsa, was validated by Pallas in the third volume of his Reise. In the text, he gave a reference to the short description of a Serratula (without specific epithet) from the second volume (Reise Russ. Reich. 2: 444. 1773); and in the unpaginated "Zweytes Register über die lateinischen Anhänge aller drey Theile" [second index of the Latin appendices of all three volumes] S. salsa was given as a name belonging to the description of a "Planta salsa ambigui generis" previously published in the first volume (Reise Russ. Reich. 1: 502. 1771).
Saline grasslands, alkaline steppes and meadows; 100-3300 m. Gansu, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang [Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia, E Europe].