Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Appalachian Blazing-star - Liatris squarrulosa   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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AuthorMichaux
DistributionSandhills, lower Piedmont, and southern Mountains; a few other scattered records. The gap across most of the Piedmont appears to be real. This "species" clearly involves 2-3 entities -- full species, varieties, etc. -- thus explaining the odd range and the great array of habitats.

WV to IL and MO, south to GA and TX.
AbundanceComplex. Uncommon and local in the Sandhills and adjacent southwestern Coastal Plain. Rare to locally uncommon in the northeastern Piedmont (on high pH soils); rare in the southwestern mountains and in the South Mountains. Very rare elsewhere in the Piedmont. Though the NCNHP lists this as Significantly Rare and a State Rank of S2, it is not nearly that scarce, and it should be downlisted just to Watch List and with a State Rank of S3.
HabitatIn the Coastal Plain/Sandhills -- mainly in loamy sand of Longleaf Pine-oak-hickory woodlands; in the Piedmont -- strictly on high pH soils of glades, barrens, and prairie-like openings; in the mountains -- mesic to dry oak-hickory and pine-oak-hickory woodlands, but on high pH soils. As soils in the Sandhills are not clearly circumneutral, there are a minimum of two "cryptic" species involved here.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late August-October.
IdentificationThis "species" grows mostly 2-4 feet tall, with many heads that cause the stems to lean or even become parallel to ground. Heads are short-stalked and are oriented sideways along the stem -- unlike any of our other species. Involucral bracts are recurved. There is some variability in the species over its range in the state -- not surprisingly. This is a striking and handsome plant.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly treated as L. earlei, and there are other synonyms (see Weakley 2018). This species needs additional taxonomic study, as there are clearly a few entities included within this complex. See also FNA's discussion and comments regarding the montane populations.

Other Common Name(s)FNA uses Southern Blazing-star; Earle's Blazing-star. None of the names used in this account are particularly apt; a new name needs to be coined.
State RankS2 [S3]
Global RankG4G5
State StatusSR-P [W1
US Status
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