Liatris ligulistylis

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blazing star
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Rose-purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils. Prefers dry, sandy or rocky, alkaline soils. Will grow taller in fertile loams, but may need staking. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but is slow to establish.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris ligulistylis is an upright, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 2’ (infrequently to 3’) tall in the wild. It may grow taller in cultivation, particularly if planted in rich, fertile garden soils. It is native from Alberta to New Mexico east to Wisconsin and Missouri. In Missouri, it typically occurs in rocky woods, rocky slopes, prairies, and gravel areas along streams (Steyermark). Fluffy, thistle-like, deep rose-purple flower heads (each to 1.25”) appear on terminal columnar inflorescences atop erect, leafy flower stems. Stems rise up from basal tufts of narrow, lanceolate-oblong to oblanceolate, green leaves (to 6” long). Blooms in late summer to early fall. Similar to L. aspera, except individual flowerheads of L. ligulistylis appear on longer stalks. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies. Within an inflorescence, flower heads bloom somewhat at the same time, which makes this species a good fresh cut flower for floral arrangements.

Genus name of unknown origin.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for thrips.

Garden Uses

Good small native liatris for rock gardens. Mass in native plant gardens, cottage gardens and prairie areas. Also may be used in perennial borders. Adds vertical accent and late summer to fall bloom.