Blazing Star (Liatris tenuifolia)

Educational Story

The Shortleaf or Scrub Blazing Star, Liatris tenuifolia, is a perennial flowering plant in the Aster family that produces a striking blaze of flowers. The inflorescence is a spike of rayless rose/ purple-colored flowers that typically bloom from the top, down. It reaches a height of 3-4 ft, and grows in well-drained soils in the Southeastern United States, typical of scrub and flatwoods communities. In early spring it produces leaves similar to pine needles, and then in summer it begins growing a stalk that will produce the showy, purple flowers. Its showy flower display makes it ideal for attracting pollinators. Liatris species are an important food source for the larvae of butterflies and moths, and the flowers have special value to native bees.

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Gardening Facts

Scientific Name: Liatris tenuifolia
Common Name: Blazing Star
Description of facts and concepts: Flowering begins at the top and continues down.
Seed or division information: Wind disperses seeds and fire improves seed production
Date of flower’s bloom (Month and week): Late summer to early fall
Ecoregion: Pinelands and dry, open areas
Color of Flower: Purple
Height: 3-4  feet
Spread: 12-18 inches
Family: Asteraceae (aster or daisy)
Soil Type: Base to Acidic Slightly acidic to neutral pH
Soil: Dry to Wet Sandy
Light: Sun to Shade Sun
Zone 8A-11B