Liatris aspera – Rough Blazing Star
Liatris aspera – Rough Blazing Star

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of poor soils, drought, summer heat and humidity. Intolerant of wet soils in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris aspera, commonly called rough blazing star, is an upright, clump-forming, Missouri native perennial which typically grows 2-3′ tall (less frequently to 5′) and which commonly occurs in dryish soils on prairies, open woods, glades, meadows and along roads and railroad tracks. Features rounded, fluffy, deep rose-purple flower heads (each 3/4″ across) which are crowded into long, terminal flower spikes atop erect, rigid, leafy flower stalks. Stalks arise from basal tufts of rough, very narrow, lance-shaped leaves (to 12″ long). Flowers open somewhat at the same time, which makes this species a particularly good fresh cut flower for floral arrangements. Blooms later (late summer to fall) than most other Liatris species. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no rays. This species is distinguished from other Liatris species by its rough appearance and rounded, outflaring involucral bracts.

Genus name of unknown origin.

Specific epithet means rough.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Taller spires may need staking.

Garden Uses

Perennial borders, cutting gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas.

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Liatris squarrosa –Scaly Blazingstar
Liatris squarrosa –Scaly Blazingstar

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile ones and generally performs better in moist soils than most other species of Liatris. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but is slow to establish.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris spicata, commonly called blazing star, dense blazing star or marsh blazing star, is a tall, upright, clump-forming perennial which is native to moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins.  It typically grows 2-4′ tall in cultivation, but can reach a height of 6′ in some parts of its native habitat. Features terminal spikes (6-12″ long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4″ across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. One or more stalks arise from a basal tuft of narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves (to 12″ long). Stem leaves gradually decrease in size toward the top. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather.

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