Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Northern Blazing-star - Liatris scariosa   (L.) Willdenow
Members of Liatris with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
Author(L.) Willdenow
DistributionSouthern Mountains and adjacent Piedmont foothill ranges. Specimens from farther east are misidentifications.

A central and southern Appalachian endemic; PA and WV south to NC and TN.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatDry rock outcrops, open rocky woodlands, roadside banks; primarily if not strictly limited to high pH soils.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-September.
IdentificationBlazing-stars typically have single unbranched stems, many slender leaves, and a terminal spike-like inflorescence of disk florets only. They grow from very hard, roundish, underground corms. Northern Blazing-star grows 1-2.5 feet tall, the lower leaves are narrowly elliptic to lance-shaped (broader towards the tip) and stalked, and the middle and upper leaves abruptly narrower, shorter, and stalkless. The heads are stalked, broad, have 19-33 pink-purple florets, and occur all around the stem. The involucral bracts are smooth and blunt-tipped. It is most similar to L. aspera, but that species has essentially stalkless heads (stalk under 5 mm long vs. greater than 8 mm long). This is a rather distinctive species, with the quite large heads on distinct stalks.
Taxonomic CommentsThe taxon found in NC is the nominate variety.

Other Common Name(s)Savanna Blazing-star (a very misleading name!), Large Blazing-star
State RankS2
Global RankG5?
State StatusW7 [W1]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type