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Plant Details

Liatris squarrulosa [= Liatris earlei]

Southern Blazing-star, Earle's Blazing-star, Appalachian Blazing-star, Appalachian Gayfeather

Scientific Name:

Liatris squarrulosa [= Liatris earlei]

Genus:

Liatris

Species Epithet:

squarrulosa

Common Name:

Southern Blazing-star, Earle's Blazing-star, Appalachian Blazing-star, Appalachian Gayfeather

Plant Type

Herb/Wildflower

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

1-3 ft., 3-6 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Pink, Purple, Violet

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Dry

Bloom Time:

August, September, October

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Diabase barrens, other glades and barrens, prairies, longleaf pine sandhills, open woodlands (Weakley 2015). Rare throughout NC.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Deciduous

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S2: Imperiled (*Key)

Global Rank:

G4 - Apparently Secure, G5 - Secure (*Key)

State Status:

SR-P: Significantly Rare: Peripheral (*Key)

Notes:

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.

NC Natural Heritage Program Global Rank: G4G5

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

image

Field of Blooming Plants

image

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

Tall Flower Stalks

image

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

Field Trip

Members amongst blooming Liatris during a field trip

image

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

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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