Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.
Dense blazing star, Dense gayfeather, Marsh blazing star
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: LISP
Dense gayfeather or marsh blazing star is an erect, slender perennial reaching a height of 3-4 ft. The linear, grass-like leaves are clumped toward the base of the plant, but extend up the stem to the showy flower cluster. A tall spike of rayless, rose-purple (sometimes white), closely set flower heads. The purple, tufted flower heads are arranged in a long, dense spike blooming from the top down.
The species name describes the elongated inflorescence, with its crowded, stalkless flower heads. The protruding styles give the flower an overall feathery appearance, hence its alternate name, Dense Gayfeather.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Notes: 3-4
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WI , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: NJ to MI & IL, s. to FL & LA; naturalized northeastward
Native Habitat: Moist, wood openings; mesic prairies; marsh edges
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, average soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
BenefitUse Wildlife: Butterflies frequent Liatris spp.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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 fa
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: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
Enchanter's Garden - Hinton, WV
Ohio Prairie Nursery - Hiram, OH
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Longwood Gardens - Newark, DE
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Liatris spicata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Liatris spicata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Liatris spicata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-11
Research By: TWC Staff