Native Plant of the Week: Rough Blazing Star ~ Liatris aspera

Rough Blazing Star ~ Liatris aspera

Rough Blazing Star is a wonderful perennial native for mesic to dry sites in sandy or sandy-loam soils.

The button-like flowerheads, which are about one inch in width are arranged in a tall, narrow spike. Flowers open from the top of the spike then downwards.

Each flowerhead has numerous, tiny, pink to purple disk flowers. Long styles protrude well past the disk flowers giving the flowerheads a fuzzy appearance.

We planted several more Rough Blazing Star on our sandy, dry, sunny hillside last year and they're all doing really well. One is almost 6 feet tall. More typical heights for this plant are 20-48".

Monarch Butterflies love to nectar on Blazing Star (Liatris) spp. They will spend several minutes on one plant probing each individual flower for nectar with their long proboscis. Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis) which likes moister sites is rated as one of the top nectar sources for Monarchs, but Rough Blazing Star isn't far behind.

Rough Blazing Star has long, narrow leaves that end in a point. The leaf shape and tall linear form of this prairie native give it a very unique texture.

In the native garden, it combines nicely with shorter prairie grasses like Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula). Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) flowers around the same time (yellow flowers), and has a similar upright form.

Rough Blazing Star is native to eastern North America, see map for range.
Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP).
North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C.