Liatris pycnostachya
(Prairie Blazing Star)

Other pictures of this plant:

               Seedpod                                           Leaf                                            Stem                                        Seed                                          Habit

Facts About this Plant:

    Common Names: Prairie Blazing Star, Cattail Blazing Star
    Lifespan: Perennial
    Zones: 3 - 9
    Type: Forb
    Bloom Time: July - September
    Status: Native

Liatris pycnostachya, or Prairie Blazing Star, is native to the central US, and is adventive in a couple of Northeastern states. It grows in dry, sandy prairies, meadows and fields and blooms in mid summer with light purple flowers on tall stalks.

This genus is a difficult one to differentiate some of the species, but the bracts below the flowers are what can be used in most cases to correctly ID them. Liatris pycnostachya has small, narrow flower heads that are densely packed on tall stems, and they lack a peduncle, which many might call the "flower stem". The bracts of this species are tight to the flowerhead except at the outer end, where they curve outward and come to a point. One of the closest species to it is Liatris spicata, but it has bracts that do not curved at all, and they lay flat against the flower head. See the Liatris comparison photo below.

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