Asteraceae or Aster
Liatris: meaning lost in antiquity
Lacerate blazing-star, rough blazing-star, tall gay-feather
|Grows 6 to 48
inches tall in sunny open dry to dry-mesic sandy prairies.
The leaves are
rough, linear 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide and often with resinous dots on them.
The broadly rounded bracts, beneath the flowers, with crisp curled edges, helps identify this species.
The flower heads attach to the main stiff, erect, downy stem either without a stalk or on a very short one.
As with all plants in the Asteraceae family, the flower head is made up of many small florets. In this case about 20-40 per head.
In late September to early October the seeds with fuzzy hairs replace the bright pink flowers ripening from the top down to be dispersed by the wind.
The plants grows from a rounded, fiber-covered corm (bulb). This bulb was
used by Native Americans to increase the endurance of their horses. It was
also used as a diuretic, stimulant, and a diaphoretic for humans. The corms
were once dug and stored for winter use as food. The leaves produced a tea
that was used to treat snakebite and for stomach aches. The stem has been
used to produce a yellow dye using alum, chrome, tin or iron as mordants.
Other facts: This plant responds positively to fire. So the season after burning, it will often be seen in dense stands contrasting with the yellow of the goldenrods.
Propagation: The seeds can be easily collected by running your hand up the stems. Always leave some seeds on the plant to repopulate its own area. Scatter them in the late fall to be buried by snow and wait for the glorious bloom in the late summer or early fall in the coming years.
Blooming Buddies include: yellow - gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), few-leaved sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus); white - fragrant cudweed (Gnaphalium obtusifolium var. obtusifolium); pink -pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida).