Liatris cylindracea Michx.

Liatris cylindracea plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - Single or multiple from base, from a globose corm, erect, herbaceous, simple or branching at the apex, to -1m tall, 4-5mm in diameter, glabrous, light green, somewhat striate from decurrent leaf tissue.

Liatris cylindracea cormCorm.

Liatris cylindracea stem

Leaves - Basal leaves in a rosette, petiolate. Entire leaf to 40cm long. Petioles often purplish near the base. Blade linear, entire, deep green, glabrous abaxially, to +/-6mm broad. At least the midrib pubescent adaxially. Cauline leaves sessile, linear, pubescent as the basals, reduced upward, acute or often mucronate (with a minute yellowish-green apex). Upper cauline leaves often ciliate at the base.

Liatris cylindracea leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Determinant racemose arrangement of axillary pedunculate flower heads. Stems in inflorescence sparse pilose. Peduncles to +1.5cm long, often with a few bracts subtending the involucre, glabrous or with a few sparse pilose hairs.

Involucre - +/-2cm long, 6-7mm in diameter, cylindrical. Phyllaries imbricate, appressed, green, glabrous (some of the lower with a few cilia on margins), abruptly acuminate to rounded at the apex (the acuminate tip often lighter in color), with scarious margins except at the apex, 5-6mm broad. Uppermost phyllaries often with purplish margins.

Liatris cylindracea involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Absent.

Disk flowers - 10-60 per flower head. Corolla glabrous externally, pubescent internally, to 1.6cm long, 5-lobed, pink above, white below. Lobes attenuate, 4-5mm long, 1mm broad, pubescent internally. Stamens 5, adnate about 1/2 way up the corolla tube, mostly included. Filaments thin and translucent, +/-2mm long, glabrous. Anthers yellowish-brown, 3mm long, with scarious apices, weakly connate around the style. Style white, glabrous, deeply bifurcate, well exserted. Stigmas pinkish-purple, pubescent. Achenes (in flower) white, 5-6mm long, densely pubescent, with a dark ring at the apex, angled. Pappus of plumose bristles in a single series. Axis of bristles purplish, to 1cm long.

Liatris cylindracea flowers

Flowering - July - September.

Habitat - Rocky open woods, prairies, glades, rocky ledges and bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species is mainly found in the southeastern half of Missouri. It is a fairly easy species to ID because of its appressed phyllaries, cylindrical involucres, and linear leaves.

Photographs taken in the Current River Conservation Area, Reynolds County, MO., 7-28-01.