Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial, biennial, or rarely annual, glabrous or tomentulose to floccose [or lanate] especially at leaf bases and below capitula, often glabrescent; if biennial then vertical roots spindle-shaped; if perennial then with well-developed caudex. Stem simple or sparingly branched. Leaves basal and cauline, sessile, linear, lanceolate, or narrowly oblong, margin entire or undulate. Capitulum terminal, solitary or sometimes capitula few to many, large, with (20-)40-180 or more florets; peduncle often apically inflated and normally without bracts. Involucre cylindric at anthesis, mostly 10-20 mm or more in diam. Phyllaries 5-15(or 16), in 1(or 2) row(s), linear-lanceolate, triangular-lanceolate, or linear, ± equal, abaxially glabrous [with intertwining hairs], margins white and narrowly pellucid, apex acute. Receptacle naked. Florets with ligules yellow, mauve, orange, purple, or violet. Achene dark to pale brown, straw-colored, or whitish, heteromorphic, outer ones ± cylindric or curviform (fusiform), central ones cylindric and less tuberculate or smooth; achene body normally tuberculate, with 5 fairly well-differentiated ribs, with or rarely without hollows in pericarp; beak slender or stout if present; pappus disk ± pubescent. Pappus persistent, dirty white, yellowish, or slightly fulvous; awns 12-20 or more in 1 or 2 rows, unequal, softly fimbriately plumose, apically scabrid.
More than 150 species: mainly in C and SW Asia and S Europe; 19 species (two endemic, one introduced) in China.
(Authors: Shi Zhu (石铸 Shih Chu); Alexander P. Sukhorukov, Evgeny V. Mavrodiev)