Liatris spicata – Marsh Blazingstar

COMMON NAME: Marsh blazingstar, Dense blazingstar

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Liatris spicata – this lastris species has spikes – spicata

FLOWER: Purple-pink flowers on terminal spikes with fluffy flowerheads

BLOOMING PERIOD: July to end of August

SIZE: 3 – 5 feet tall

BEHAVIOR: The flowers grow on unbranched rigid stems. Flower heads are at the top of the stems and densely crowded along the spike, facing in all directions. The blooming starts at the top first.

SITE REQUIREMENTS: Grows best in a slightly moist, but well-drained sandy loam.

NATURAL RANGE: Found mostly in the eastern part of the U.S. In Wisconsin it is found in the extreme southeastern corner, but can be planted in the Dane County area. It is listed as “Wisconsin Special Concern” which means it is not abundant and local attention should be focused on the species before it becomes threatened or endangered.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Leaves are long and narrow, densely spaced along the stem. The flowers are good for bouquets as well as attracting butterflies and various nectar-seeking insects. Goldfinches come for the seeds. This blazingstar would be a good addition to a rain garden.

SUGGESTED CARE: Needs full sun and is tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Can be planted with seeds, but will be very slow to develop.

COMPANION PLANTS: Tall meadowrue, mountain mint, New England aster, shooting star, yellow stargrass, big bluestem, blue joint grass, prairie dropseed, Indian grass.