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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Liatris punctata Hook.
Dotted blazing star, Dotted gayfeather
USDA Symbol: LIPU
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The erect, unbranched stems of this perennial may be solitary but are usually in clusters, 1-2 ft. tall.Several stems bear narrow, crowded heads with rose-lavender flowers arranged in slender wands. Numerous narrow leaves are crowded along the stem as they intermingle with the tufted flowers. Disk flowers crowd together to form a lavender spike encompassing the top third or half of the stem.
Rayless heads of purple flowers and slender, often plume-like bristles on the fruits generally identify this complex genus of the East that barely extends into the West.
The species name punctata means dotted and refers to the speckled leaves.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Alt. to NM,
e. to MI, IA,
w. MO, AR
& TX; naturalized eastward Native Habitat:
Loess hills; prairies
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Well-drained, sandy, calcareous soils. Conditions Comments:
A long taproot
makes this the most drought-tolerant of the gayfeathers. A bushier plant is formed if it is cut back or mowed during the growing season. This is a long-lived plant that is tolerant of alkaline soils.
This plant makes an excellent cut flower
and, if cut at the beginning of its bloom, will retain its purple color and make an excellent dry flower
for arrangements. Gay feather is also a good choice for container gardens.
Liatris spp. attract butterflies. Use Medicinal:
Pulverized roots eaten to improve appetite. Powdered entire
plant for tea for heart pains. Boiled root applied to swellings. Tea for stomachache, bladder and kidney problems. Conspicuous Flowers:
Scarified seeds may be sown outside in late fall or stored, stratified and sown the following spring. Some sources suggest spring seedlings will appear by simply laying the flowering stalk in an outdoor seedbed and covering with 1/2 in. of soil in the fall. Gay feather can also be established by dividing corms in late fall to early spring. Lift the mature clump and separate the corms with a sharp knife: replant and water thoroughly. Allow 2 feet between plants in a perennial
border. Seed Collection:
Wait until the flower
heads on the entire
stalk have turned fluffy tan before collecting. Bring the stalks inside to air-dry then shake or brush the nutlets from the heads. Seeds can be stored with chaff in sealed, refrigerated containers. Seed Treatment:
Scarification (lightly nick with knife) and stratification (3 months at 40 degrees). Commercially Avail:
Staking the stems will keep the flower
spikes from falling over. A moist, fertile soil may cause a plant to develop long, slender spikes which flop over. They sometimes can be prevented from falling over by keeping the plant dry in July and August. Volunteer plants can be limited by cutting stalks to the ground after the bloom fades. New stalks grow in the spring.
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Record Last Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff