Plant Details

Liatris squarrulosa

Southern Blazing Star

Scientific Name:

Liatris squarrulosa

Common Name:

Southern Blazing Star

Plant Family

Asteraceae (Aster Family)





Bloom Color(s):

pink blue purple

Size in Feet:

up to 6



Soil Moisture:

sub-xeric / xeric(*)

Bloom Time:

September - October - November

Bloom Area:

rare State-wide

Habitat Description:

Diabase barrens, other glades and barrens, prairies, longleaf pine sandhills, open woodlands.


1998 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year

Southern blazing star has many garden worthy attributes, yet is seldom found in the horticultural trade. It develops an unbranched, upright flower stalk that grows to six feet - unusually tall for a blazing star. The rose-purple flowers, arranged in tight heads, appear in the fall.

Mature plants have a strong vertical effect which provides a distinctive element in the garden. Although easily grown in any average sunny site, southern blazing star is actually very well adapted to dry sunny sites.

In the Carolinas, the secret to getting southern blazing star (or any so-called drought-tolerant plant) established in a difficult site is to plant in the fall. This gives new roots a chance to become established in the relatively stress-free conditions of our fall and early winter.

Southern blazing star is a member of the sunflower family of plants, Asteraceae. Each bloom head is composed of many individual flowers. Instead of sporting the petals or ray flowers we usually associate with sunflowers or daisies, the flowers of this plant are composed entirely of disk flowers like those located in the center of a sunflower. The sequence of bloom is also interesting. Most plants that form a spike open from the bottom up, but the blooms of blazing stars open from the top down, creating a dramatic effect in the perennial garden.

Southern blazing star combines well with New England aster (Aster novaeangliae), Helen's flower (Helenium autumnale), seashore mallow (Kostelelzkya virginica), as well as many other fall-blooming perennials.

Closeup of Blooms


Field of Blooming Plants


near Raleigh-Durham, late September 2005
© J. Randall, NC Botanical Garden

Tall Flower Stalks


near Raleigh-Durham, late September 2005
© J. Randall, NC Botanical Garden

Field Trip

Members amongst blooming Liatris during a field trip


near Raleigh-Durham, late September 2005
© J. Randall, NC Botanical Garden


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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