Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii (Lunell) E.G. Voss

Northern Blazing Star

Liatris scariosa plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stem - Erect or arching, densely pubescent with short curled hairs, sometimes nearly glabrous toward base.


Leaves - Basal leaves petiolate, oblanceolate. Stem leaves alternate, numerous, essentially sessile, to 15 cm long, narrowly oblanceolate or elliptic, entire, with single midvein.

Liatris_scariosa_leavesStem and leaves.

Liatris_scariosa_leafMidstem leaf.

Inflorescence - Elongate, open racemes of well-defined, loosely spaced heads, with inflorescence axis readily visible. Mid-inflorescence heads on stalks 12-40 mm long.


Liatris_scariosa_inflorescence2Stalked heads.

Involucre - Cup-shaped, to 17 mm long. Bracts in 4-6 unequal, overlapping series, broadly ovate, mostly appressed, entire to shallowly scalloped, flat.


Florets - Disk florets about 30-80 per head. Corollas to 11 mm, purple. Pappus bristles barbed.



Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Upland prairies, glades, ledges, forest openings.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This species resembles L. aspera but is far less common. The two are easily distinguished when flowering. L. aspera bears its flowering heads on shorter stalks, and the involucral bracts have a distinctive "pouched" appearance with apical margins appearing irregularly torn.
Two other varieties of Liatris scariosa are recognized by most authors. The taxononmy of this group and its close relatives is confusing and poorly understood.

Liatris_scariosa_inflorescence Liatris_scariosa_inflorescence
Involucral bracts of L. aspera (L) and L. scariosa (R).

Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 8-20-2017 and 9-5-2017 (SRTurner).