Liatris spicata at Indiana Dunes
Species Present and Native

Stem: unbranched with a light green to almost purple coloration.  Most of the stems are glabrous (hairless).  

Flowers: are in flower heads that can be up to 45 cm (17 in) tall in a spike that comes off of the stem with as many as 40 flowers on the spike.  The flowers are a lavender, whitish purple color and bloom from top down.  The individual flowers have no ray florets and 4-10 disk florets.    

Leaves: narrowly oblong-lanceolate and dark green. They are usually reduced in size up the stem of the plant. The leaves can be glabrous or slightly pubescent. Leaves have a 3-5 veins more prominant near the base. Leaves are arranged alternately.

Sun: Full to part sun

INPAWS Native Communities:  Prairie Grassland (sun)

Ideal conditions: Moist open prairies and meadows

Liatris spicata at Indiana Dunes

Marsh Blazingstar

Liatris spicata  Michx.

Family:     Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     40 -110 cm (1 to 3.5 ft)

Blooming: July-Sept.


Liatris spicata at Indiana Dunes

Comments: There are four species of Liatris in the dunes.  L. aspera blooms later than L. spicata.  Because of the difference in flowering times, hybridization between the two species is rare but possible (Liatris X steelei Gaiser).

Etymology:  The epithet name "spicata" is derived from the Latin word which means, "spikes or in spikes".  

Landscape: Marsh blazingstar is an easy landscape plant in that it does not have any serious pest problems and needs little attention as long as it is in moist soils.  It does form clumps so be aware that it may need to be divided after many years.  

all photos by Nathanael Pilla