Blazing Star, Gay Feather
Synonyms of Liatris spicata (4) (Updated on 12-23-21 from Plants of the World Online): Kuhnia spicata (L.) Baill., Lacinaria spicata (L.) Kuntze, Serratula spicata L., Suprago spicata (L.) Gaertn.
Synonyms of Liatris spicata var. spicata (19) (Updated on 12-23-21 from POWO): Lacinaria elongata Greene, Lacinaria spicata f. albiflora House, Lacinaria spicata var. albiflora (Britton) Britton, Lacinaria spicata var. foliacea Farw., Lacinaria spicata var. montana (A.Gray) Small, Lacinaria spicata var. pumila (Lodd.) Porter, Lacinaria vittata Greene, Liatris macrostachya Michx., Liatris magnifica Anon., Liatris picta Barton ex DC., Liatris pumila G.Lodd., Liatris sessiliflora Bertol., Liatris spicata f. albiflora Britton, Liatris spicata var. macrostachya (Michx.) DC., Liatris spicata f. montana (A.Gray) Gaiser, Liatris spicata var. montana A.Gray, Liatris spicata var. typica Gaiser, Liatris turbinata Sweet, Liatris vittata K.Schum.
Liatris spicata (L.) Willd. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species. It was named and described as such by Carl Ludwig Willdenow in Species Plantarum, 4th edition, in 1803. It was first described as Serratula spicata by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Accepted Infraspecific Names (4) Updated on 12-23-21 from POWO): Liatris spicata var. glabrata (Rydb.) Gaiser, Liatris spicata var. resinosa (Nutt.) Gaiser, Liatris spicata var. savannensis (Kral & G.L.Nesom) D.B.Ward, *Liatris spicata var. spicata (autonym). *When infraspecific taxon are named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated whose description is closest to the (original) species. All have their own list of synonyms…
The genus, Liatris Gaertn. ex Schreb., was described as such by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in Genera Plantarum (short version) in 1791. Mr. Schreber gave credit to Joseph Gaertner for first naming and describing the genus.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 39 accepted species in the Liatris genus (as of 10-21-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,677 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
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Although Liatris spicata is a native wildflower, and a Missouri native, I brought a pot home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in the spring of 2017. I had rejuvenated the south bed and extended the corner a little which is where I planted it.
As with all plants, it seems to take forever for their puds to open. This one just kept getting taller and taller! Liatris prefers fertile soil but will be OK in any old soil as long as it is well-draining. They do NOT like wet soil in the winter, however. This plant is considered a herbaceous perennial but spread by corms. You can buy plants, corms, or even seeds although seed-grown plants may be somewhat harder to get established.
They are drought tolerant once established but need regular water, especially the first season, to get their roots well established.
Origin: Eastern United States.
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-10b (-40 to 35° F).
Size: 24-48” tall.
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Average, well-drained soil is OK but prefers moist fertile soil. Intolerant of wet soil in the winter.
Water: Average water needs.
Once their flowers fade, the show is over. They need companion plants nearby for extended interest in the flower bed. I had transplanted ‘Brocade’ Marigolds in this bed which soon filled in the whole area and completely covered up the Liatris.
Well, that’s it for the photos of the Liatris.
The Liatris spicata did not return in the spring of 2018 and I didn’t see any at the local greenhouses since. Our paths will no doubt cross again.
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