Liatris scariosa

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blazing star 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central and eastern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: Reddish purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils. Prefers dry, sandy or rocky 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 may take several years to establish. Plants may self-seed in the garden in open areas.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris scariosa, commonly called blazing star, is an upright, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 2-4’ tall in the wild. It is native from Maine to Wisconsin south to Mississippi and Georgia. In Missouri, it is uncommonly found in rocky woods, rocky slopes, prairies, and gravel areas along streams (Steyermark). Fluffy, thistle-like, reddish-purple flower heads (to 1” across) bloom in late summer to early fall on terminal columnar inflorescences (to 18” long) atop erect, leafy flower stems. Inflorescences are of the button type (individual flower heads are spaced along the stem on short stalks). Inflorescences bloom from top to bottom. Flowering stems rise up from basal tufts of rough, narrow, ovate to lanceolate, green leaves (to 10” long). Stem leaves (to 3” long) are much smaller. 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 shrivelled.

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.


Native liatris for borders, cottage gardens, prairies, meadows and naturalized areas. Adds vertical accent and late summer to fall bloom.