Description from Flora of China
Saussurea ussuriensis var. incisa Maximowicz; S. ussuriensis var. laxiodontolepis Q. Z. Han & Shu Y. Wang; S. ussuriensis var. pinnatifida Maximowicz.
Herbs 30-120 cm tall, perennial. Stem solitary, erect, apically branched. Basal and lower stem leaves petiolate; petiole 3.5-20 cm; leaf blade ovate or oblong, 6-18 × 2.5-6[-10] cm, pinnately lobed or undivided, both surfaces green, ± concolorous, usually gland-dotted, and sparsely strigose but glabrescent, base cordate to truncate, apex acuminate; lateral lobes 3-7 pairs, triangular-oblong, margin entire or coarsely dentate. Middle and upper stem leaves shortly petiolate; leaf blade oblong to linear, gradually smaller upward on stem. Capitula numerous, clustered at end of branches in a corymbiform synflorescence, shortly pedunculate. Involucre narrowly campanulate, 5-8 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 5-7 rows, margin and apically usually purplish, arachnoid to glabrescent, apex acuminate to acute; outer phyllaries ovate, 2-3 × 0.5-1 mm; middle phyllaries oblong, 3-9 × 1.5-2 mm; inner phyllaries linear, 9-11(-14) × 1-1.5 mm. Receptacle bristles 5-6 mm. Corolla purplish red, 1-1.3 cm, tube 5-6 mm, limb 5-5.5 mm, lobes 3.5-4 mm. Achene pale brown with dark spots, 4-5 mm, glabrous, apex with a short crown. Pappus straw-colored; outer bristles 2-4 mm, scabrid; inner bristles 7-9 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 26.
A single plant of Saussurea ussuriensis from Liaoning has been described as S. ussuriensis var. laxiodontolepis. The description matches the typical variety of S. ussuriensis, except for the dentate phyllaries, which may be the result of introgression from S. odontolepis or S. pectinata. Also, Lipschitz (Fl. URSS 27: 448. 1962) reported hybrids of S. ussuriensis with S. odontolepis.
Montane forests, thickets, grasslands, by rivers, ravines; 1100-2900 m. Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, ?Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi [Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia (Far East)].