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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Liatris spicata (Dense blazing star)
Makin, Julie

Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.

Dense blazing star, Dense gayfeather, Marsh blazing star

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s):

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: 3-4
Leaf: Green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: 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 Conditions

Water 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

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Butterflies frequent Liatris spp.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: 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

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC FAC FAC FAC
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.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According 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 Directory

According 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
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 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 resources

USDA: Find Liatris spicata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Liatris spicata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Liatris spicata

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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