Liatris scariosa (L.) Willd.

Blazing Star


CC = 9
CW = 5
MOC = 18
SRank = S2

© SRTurner

Family - Asteraceae/Eupatorieae

Stem - Erect or arching, densely pubescent with short curled hairs, sometimes nearly glabrous toward base.

Liatris_scariosa_stem.jpg Stem.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Basal leaves petiolate, oblanceolate. Stem leaves alternate, numerous, essentially sessile, to 15 cm long, narrowly oblanceolate or elliptic, entire, with single midvein.

Liatris_scariosa_leaves.jpg Stem and leaves.

© SRTurner

Liatris_scariosa_leaf.jpg Midstem leaf.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Elongate, open racemes of well-defined, loosely spaced heads, with inflorescence axis readily visible. Mid-inflorescence heads on stalks 12-40 mm long.

Liatris_scariosa_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Liatris_scariosa_inflorescence2.jpg Stalked heads.

© SRTurner

Involucre - Cup-shaped, to 17 mm long. Bracts in 4-6 unequal, overlapping series, broadly ovate, mostly appressed, entire to shallowly scalloped, flat.

Liatris_scariosa_involucre.jpg Involucre.

© SRTurner

Florets - Disk florets about 30-80 per head. Corollas to 11 mm, purple. Pappus bristles barbed.

Liatris_scariosa_florets.jpg Florets.

© SRTurner

Liatris_scariosa_florets2.jpg Florets.

© SRTurner

Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Upland prairies, glades, ledges, forest openings.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This species resembles L. aspera but is far less common. The two are easily distinguished when flowering. L. aspera bears its flowering heads on shorter stalks, and the involucral bracts have a distinctive "pouched" appearance with apical margins appearing irregularly torn.

Two other varieties of Liatris scariosa are recognized by most authors. The taxononmy of this group and its close relatives is confusing and poorly understood.

Liatris_scariosa_bracts.jpg Involucral bracts of L. aspera (L) and L. scariosa (R).

© SRTurner

Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 8-20-2017 and 9-5-2017 (SRTurner).