Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Dense Blazing-star - Liatris spicata var. spicata   (L.) Willdenow
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Liatris with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) Willdenow
DistributionUpper Piedmont and low Mountains.

Southern Ont. to MI, south to GA, MS, and AR. Records from northeastern states are introductions.
AbundanceUncommon to common.
HabitatMontane seepage bogs, meadows, grassy balds, moist roadsides.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-September.
IdentificationBlazing-stars typically have single stems, many slender leaves, and a terminal spike-like inflorescencxe of disk florets only. They grow from very hard, roundish, underground corms. Variety spicata grows 2-5 feet tall, 1 stem from a single corm, stems erect, lower leaves lance-shaped, mid and upper leaves gradually narrower, shorter, and stalkless. Heads are numerous in a dense spike, have 6-12 red-purple florets, and occur all round the stem. Variety resinosa differs in having leaves abruptly smaller up the stem, usually shorter involucral bracts, and usually fewer florets per head.
Taxonomic CommentsNote that the distributions of the two varieties of L. spicata do not overlap in NC. Weakley (2022) elevates each to full species status, saying of form spicata: "Blooming earlier than the coastal L. resinosa, even though occurring inland, more northerly, and at higher elevations". However, the website editors will await a published journal paper before making the move.

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