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Scaly Blazingstar-Wisconsin Native Plamt

Liatris squarrosa

Scaly Blazingstar

Benefits:    Bees, Butterflies
Bloom Time:    August, Sept
Sun Shade:    Full Sun
Zones:    4, 5
Soil Conditions:    Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture:    Medium, Dry
Color:    Pink, Purple
Fragrance:    No
Height:    1 - 2 feet
Spacing:    1 foot

Scaly Blazingstar (Liatris squarrosa) wildflower is 1–2½ feet tall and unbranched. The central stem is light green, slightly ridged, and glabrous to hairy. The alternate leaves occur along the entire length of the stem in widely spreading pseudo-whorls. The lowest leaves are 4-6 inches long and about ¼-inch across, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stem. The leaves are medium green, linear in shape, sessile, and glabrous to short-pubescent. Each stem terminates in a spike or narrow raceme of flower heads about 2-8 inches long. These flowerheads are relatively few in number, and on rare occasions only a single flower head may be produced. Each flat-topped flowerhead is about ½–1 inch across, consisting of 15-45 pink disk florets above and overlapping floral bracts (phyllaries) below. There are no ray florets. Individual disk florets are tubular in shape. Each of these florets has 5 recurved slender lobes at its apex. Each disk floret has a bifurcated style that is white to light pink; it is often strongly exerted and recurved. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer and lasts about 1 month. The flower heads bloom from the top to the bottom. With maturation, the disk florets are replaced by small achenes that are bullet-shaped and pubescent; each achene has a tuft of feathery bristles at its apex. The achenes are distributed by the wind to some extent. The root system consists of a globoid corm with fibrous roots below. Sometimes vegetative offsets are produced.

Habitats include hill prairies, limestone or sandstone glades, ledges of sunny cliffs, openings in upland rocky woodlands, and barren savannas. This wildflower is found in high quality natural areas. Occasional wildfires are beneficial because the encroachment of woody vegetation is reduced.

The preference is full sun, dry-mesic to dry conditions, and a barren soil containing rocky material or some sand.

Plant Care and Notes:

  Berries are toxic

  Divide every 4-5 years in spring or fall