Description from Flora of China
Herbs 1.5-2 m tall, perennial. Stem solitary, whitish to grayish white, unbranched or apically sparingly branched, sparsely cobwebby and densely strigose in lower half, densely cobwebby to thickly lanate below synflorescences. Leaves ± thinly papery, abaxially grayish white and densely cobwebby to thickly lanate, adaxially green and glabrous. Middle and upper cauline leaves long petiolate; leaf blade oblanceolate, 16-18 × 4-6 cm, pinnatipartite or pinnatifid; proximal segments transformed into spines; distal segments 3 or 4 pairs, triangular to lanceolate, margin spiny ciliate or with triangular spiny teeth. Uppermost cauline leaves similar but smaller. Pseudocephalia 1-3, 5-6 cm in diam. Capitula 2-2.4 cm. Phyllaries ca. 23, abaxially glabrous; outermost phyllaries oblanceolate, 5-6 mm, unequal, ca. 1/4 as long as involucre, claw margin long ciliate, distal portion brownish, rhombic, margin ciliate, and apex shortly acuminate; middle phyllaries oblanceolate, 1.4-1.6 cm, margin shortly ciliate, constricted from maximum width into a spiny awn; inner phyllaries narrowly elliptic, apex dentate. Corolla blue, tube outside gland-dotted in distal half. Achene ca. 6 mm, hairs yellowish. Pappus scales linear, ca. 1.4 mm, connate at base. Fl. and fr. Jul-Aug.
● Forests on mountain slopes; 1300-1500 m. Xinjiang (W Tian Shan).