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Large Blazing Star Liatris scariosa


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Large Blazing Star - habit
credit: NASA

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Alternate name: Devil's-bite

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Native perennial herb.
Habit: erect; tall, leafy, smooth or downy stems rise from a basal rosette; taproot.
Height: 1-5 ft (30-150 cm).
Leaf: grass-like, rough or hairy, to 10 in long, 1.25 in (30 mm) wide; at base, wider; above, fewer, smaller, narrower.
Flower: small, shaggy, bowl-shaped, lavender to rose, 3/8-1 in (8-25 mm) wide; held in spirals on loose terminal spike, 35-60 flowerheads per spike; blooming begins aat top of the spike and works down.
Fruit: dry seed, 1/4 in (6 mm) long, topped with short plume of barbed bristles.

Flower July-September.

Habitat Dry woods, grasslands, barrens and clearings; widely cultivated as an ornamental.

Range Eastern U.S.: Wisconsin east to New York and Maine, south to Georgia, west to Arkansas, and north to Missouri and Illinois; not reported in Kentucky, Mississippi, or Vermont.

Discussion Also known as: blazing star, northern blazing star, northern gayfeather, large button-snakeroot, devil's bite. There are 3 recognized varietes of this plant apart from the species. The species or one of its varieties are threatened or endangered in New England, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. The flower heads and broad leaves with well-separated stalks are characteristic of the very similar Liatris species found in the same range; these may eventually prove to be variants of a single species.