Description from Flora of China
Herbs 20-60 cm tall, perennial. Stem solitary, erect, simple or apically branched, winged, covered at base with numerous fibrous remains of old petioles. Basal and lower stem leaves sessile, ovate to oblong, 8-12 × 1-2 cm, both surfaces green and glabrous, base decurrent, margin serrulate, apex acute. Middle and upper stem leaves ovate to narrowly ovate, gradually smaller upward on stem, 4-7 × 1-1.5 cm, apex long acuminate. Capitula 2-11, in a corymbiform synflorescence, sessile to pedunculate. Involucre campanulate to hemispheric, 2-3.5 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 4 or 5 rows, usually black, apex acuminate; outer phyllaries narrowly ovate-triangular, 10-15 × 2-3(-5) mm; middle and inner phyllaries narrowly elliptic to linear, (10-)15-20 × 1-3(-4) mm. Corolla purple, 1.6-1.7 cm, glabrous, tube 9-10 mm, limb 5-6 mm, lobes 3.5-4 mm. Achene cylindric, 5-6 mm, ribbed, apex with a short crown. Pappus pale yellowish brown; outer bristles 1-5 mm, scabrid; inner bristles ca. 1.2 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Aug. 2n = 34*.
Saussurea sobarocephala has often been confused with S. sylvatica.
● Forest margins, grasslands on mountain slopes; 1900-3600 m. Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan.