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Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.
Dense blazing star, Dense gayfeather, Marsh blazing star
USDA Symbol: LISP
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Size Notes:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
, WV Canada: ON
, QC Native Distribution: NJ
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
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:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-11
Research By: TWC Staff