This genus to which this plant belongs includes at least 460 scientifically recognized species, native to arctic and cool temperate regions of East Asia, Europe, and North America, with the greatest diversity in alpine habitats in the Himalayas and East Asia.
These plants can range in size from 5 to 10 cm tall, to tall thistle-like plants up to 3 meters tall.
The new species has been named Saussurea khunjerabensis. It was first discovered in 2013 during a field expedition to the southwestern border region of Xinjiang, China and measures between 11 and 25 cm in height and about 2 cm in diameter.
” Saussurea khunjerabensis is over-collected by local people as ‘snow lotus,'” said lead author Tian Li, a researcher with the South China Botanical Garden and the Central Botanical Gardens of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues in the article published in the journal Phytotaxa.
“Many species of Saussurea subgenus Eriocoryne are included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List due to their small geographic ranges, few and severely fragmented populations, and continuing decline due to excessive drug harvesting. ”. “According to the IUCN Red List categories and criteria, the conservation status of this species should be assessed as Critically Endangered.”
Reference: Tian Li et al. 2022. Saussurea khunjerabensis (Asteraceae, Cardueae), a new species from Pamir. Phytotaxa 561 (1); doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.561.1.6