Liatris spicata (Blazing Star)


Where Commonly Found:
Gardens, fields, meadows, swales, edges of marshes, CT, ME
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Liatris spicata.
Missouri Botanical Garden website for Liatris spicata.
Flower Type:  Dense spikes, 4″-18″ long, flower heads, 1/3″ across, with 4-10 disk purple/pink florets of tubular corolloa,  much more crowded, even overlapping, than Liatris aspera.  The style is deeply divided and string-like.  Flower time is mid-July to mid-August.
Leaf Arrangement: 
Alternate leaves can be so dense as to appear whorled.  Basal leaves may wither away by flowering time.
Leaf Type: 
1/3″ across and up to 10″ long, becoming smaller further up the stem.  Leaves are linear with smooth, entire margins and a distinct central vein.  Surfaces are medium green and glabrous to sparsely hairy.
Height:  2′ – 4′
Seed Collection:  Florets are replaced by small achenes with light brown stiff bristles.  Cut horizontally through the flower stem spike 1/4″ above the first or second set of leaves.  Allow flower stems to dry, spread out, at room temperature for 1 – 2 weeks.  Rub on 1/4″ wire mesh to allow chaff and seeds to fall through.  Store cool, dry.

Attracts:  Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Use:  Garden, Rain Garden
Light:  Full Sun
Hardiness Zone:  3 to 8   USDA Zone Map
Soils:  Dry to Wet
Notes:  Blazing Star is a fine garden spike flower providing high value late season nectar for bees, butterflies and hummingbird. Great cut flower!
Native to NY, MA, CT, Midwest and South East US:  Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).

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