prairie blazing star

Prairie blazing star can be distinguished from closely related Liatris spicata (blazing star) by the tiny leaflets that curve away from the flower bud (recurved bracts).

Liatris pycnostachya (prairie blazing star) is a beautiful plant that resembles a fairy wand. One of the tallest Liatris species in cultivation, typically growing 2-4′ tall. It is upright clump-forming native perennial which is commonly found in prairies, open woods, meadows and along railroads tracks and roads. They feature a rounded, fluffy, deep rose-purple flower heads, which are crowded into terminal spikes atop thickly-leafed, rigid flower stalks. Flowers open from top to bottom on the spikes.

Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing star”) and no rays. The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers. Butterfly visitors include Monarchs, Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Sulfurs, Whites, and others. The caterpillars of the rare Schinia gloriosa (Glorious Flower Moth) feed on the flowers and seed capsules.

Botanical Name Liatris pycnostachya
Common Name prairie blazing star
Family Asteraceae
USDA Zone 3 thru 9
Light Requirement Full Sun
Season(s) of interest summer, fall, winter
Height and Spread 2-5ft x 1-2ft (60-150cm x 30-60cm)
Flower Color Lilac Purple
Attracts Wildlife Provides Food for Birds, Hosts Caterpillars of Butterflies/Moths, Attracts Pollinators,
Additional Information Native to Chicago Region.
Location in Lurie Garden Southwest Light Plate, Northeast Light Plate

 

Average Flowering Time