Liatris cylindracea

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: slender blazing star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Ontario to Missouri
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 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


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers dry, sandy or rocky, alkaline soils. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils. 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 cylindracea is an upright, clump-forming perennial that grows to 2’ tall. It is native from Minnesota to Ontario and western New York south to Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. In Missouri, it typically occurs in rocky areas, glades and prairies (Steyermark). Fluffy, rose purple flower heads (each to 1.25” long) appear solitary or in few-flowered racemose inflorescences atop erect, leafy flower stalks. Sharp-pointed involucral bracts form a tight elongated cylinder on each flowerhead. Narrow, linear, grass-like leaves to 10” long decrease in size toward the top of the plant. Blooms in summer. The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators, and the small seeds are attractive to songbirds.

Genus name of unknown origin.

Specific epithet means cylindrical in reference to the shape of the flowerhead.

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.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Good small native liatris for rock gardens. Mass in native plant gardens, cottage gardens and prairie areas. Also may be used in perennial borders.