Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Heller's Blazing-star - Liatris helleri   Porter
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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DistributionEndemic to the state and limited to just a few high montane rocky summits; it is a Federally Threatened species. Weakley (2020) and many others had lumped L. turgida into this species in recent years, but he moved it back out again in 2020. Additional research is warranted.

Endemic to northwestern NC.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon, primarily at Grandfather Mountain. This is a Federally Threatened species.
HabitatLimited to high elevation rock outcrops, crevices, and ledges.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July - mid 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. Heller's Blazing-star grows only 8-12 inches tall, the lower leaves narrowly elliptic to rather spatula-shaped, with the middle and upper leaves rapidly narrower and shorter. The heads are "middling- sized", have 7-17 pink-purple florets, and involucral bracts have blunt tips. From L. microcephala it can be told by more florets per head (7-17 vs. 4-6) and from L. pilosa it can be told by stems and leaves weakly punctate-glandular (vs. usually strongly so). The latter species usually is not found growing on rocks/outcrops. See also L. turgida.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2020) retains turgida as a good species, but cites journal papers which underline the controversy.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2
Global RankG2Q
State StatusT
US StatusLT
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