Liatris aspera at Indiana Dunes

Family:     Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     150 cm (up to 5 ft)

Blooming: July-Sept.


Rough Blazingstar

Liatris aspera  Michx.

Stem: a green to reddish color and rough and hairy.  

Flowers: in flower heads that can be up to 46 cm (1.5 ft) long terminal spikes with numerous pink to purplish disk flowers clustering together in 2.5 cm (1 in) button-like heads. The long styles project out of the center of the flower. The flower heads are attached or nearly attached to the stem.

Leaves: young leaves are short-stalked, simple, unlobed, toothless, and with a tapered tip. The leaf can be up to 41 cm (16 in) long by 5 cm (2 in) wide. It also displays a strong midrib.  The young leaves form in a circular pattern at the base of the plant. Mature leaves are alternate with those on the bottom larger and becoming smaller on the way up the stem.

Sun: Full to part sun

Ideal conditions: Dry to moist open to partially-shaded conditions.

Bracts: flower heads become reddish brown at maturity.

Liatris aspera at Indiana Dunes
Liatris aspera at Indiana Dunes

Comments:  Henry David Thoreau noted that "[Liatris] has a general resemblance to thistles and knapweed, but is a handsomer plant than any of them" (Eastman 2003).  Liatris aspera usually blooms later than the other native Liatris species. There is variation in the amount of hair on the leaves with those in the East being glabrous (no hair) and those in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas with puberulent-hispidulous leaves (hairy). In Indiana, the variation crosses with both occurring.   

Etymology: The epithet name "aspera" is derived from the Latin word "asper" which means, "rough, severe".  

photo by Nathanael Pilla

photo by Nathanael Pilla


Eastman, J.A. 2003. The Book of Field and Roadside: Open-Country Weeds, Trees, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America. Stackpole Bookes, Mechanicsburg, PA. pp. 44.

photo by Nathanael Pilla

photo by Scott Namestnik

Species Present and Native