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Liatris aspera (Tall blazing star)
Makin, Julie

Liatris aspera

Liatris aspera Michx.

Tall Blazing Star, Tall Gayfeather, Tall Liatris, Rough Blazing Star, Rough Gayfeather, Rough Liatris, Button Snakeroot

Asteraceae (Aster Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A spike of rounded, rayless, pinkish to lavender (sometimes white) flower heads along stiff erect stems covered with grayish hairs. One of the popular gayfeathers, this perennial has an erect, slightly zig-zag stem, 1-6 ft. tall. The stem is lined with short, narrow, bright-green leaves. Button-like, magenta-purple florets cover the upper 18-32 in. of the plant.

This species is distinguished by its roughness and rounded bracts. The origin of the genus name is unknown; the species name is Latin for "rough." Found in eastern North America from the east coast west to Texas and the Dakotas and as far north as southern Ontario, where it is rare and listed by Canada's Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife as endangered.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NY , OH , OK , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Canada: MB , ON
Native Distribution: S. Ont. to WV & SC, w. to ND & e. TX
Native Habitat: Dry plains; prairies; thin woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant.


Use Wildlife: Butterflies frequent Liatris spp. Provides nectar for butterflies such as: tiger swallowtail, clouded sulphur, orange sulphur, gray hairstreak, aphrodite fritillary, painted lady, red admiral, wood nymph (Wildtype)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes

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.


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

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.5 - Naturalistic Landscaping Takes Careful Planning, Director\'s Report, Breaking th...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-12-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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