Saussurea pulchella
Common Name: saussurea 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Asia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Pale purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy


Best grown in USDA Zones 3-7. Performs well in average to moist well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Will not perform well in hot and humid summer climates south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Saussurea pulchella, commonly known as lizard’s tail, is a somewhat thistle-like short-lived perennial or biennial of the composite/aster family that matures to 4-5’ tall. It is native to forest steppes, thickets, grassy alpine areas and meadows in northern China, Mongolia, eastern Siberia, Japan and Korea. Petiolate basal to middle stem leaves (to 4-10” long) are pinnately lobed to pinnatisect. Upper stem leaves are sessile. Solitary or loosely clustered flowers have pale purple corollas. The involucre (collar of bracts at the back of the flower head) is spherical to egg-shaped with overlapping bracts. Flowers bloom in July-August followed by seed-like fruits (ivory-colored achenes with dark spots) that mature in early autumn.

Genus name honors Swiss philosopher and scientist Horace Benedict de Saussure (1740-1799).

Specific epithet means pretty.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Alpine gardens. Meadows and open grassy areas. Cottage gardens.