Dense Blazing Star            Rough Blazing Star
Liatris spicata - (Linnaeus) Willdenow       L. aspera   
      Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
      

Dense Blazing Star is an upright perennial with a dense flower spike. Preferred habitat is moist and low grounds, thin pine woods and meadows. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are numerous and narrow with equal parallel sides; up to 12 inches in length, almost grass-like and arising from the lower stem. Leaf size decreases upward the stem.

Flowers are heads consisting of disc flowers only; long styles that protrude beyond the corolla lobes. Thin scale-like bracts beneath the flower head are blunt and bear purple margins. Flowers occur in late summer and early autumn.

Fruit is a seed which outer layer is fused to it (achene).

The Dense Blazing Star escaped from cultivation in southern New England and rapidly spread southward along the east coast. The species name describes the crowded stalkless flower heads as well as the dense leaves. The protruding styles give the flower an overall feathery appearance; hence its occasional alternate name, Gay feather.
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Rough Blazing Star is an upright hairy to smooth perennial. Preferred habitat is open plains, then woods and sandy soils. Distribution is throughout the Escambia River region.

Leaves are rough, lance shaped, several times longer than broad, widest at the middle, no leaf stalk. Most leaves are located on the lower half of the stem and become progressively smaller upward.

Flowers are heads about 3/4 inch wide; all disc flowers, both stalked and unstalked; bracts beneath the heads are broadly rounded and flaring with pinkish margins. Flowers occur in late summer and early autumn.

Fruit is a seed which outer layer is fused to it (achene).

This species is distinguished by its roughness and rounded floral bracts. The origin of the genus name is unknown but "aspera" is Latin for “rough.”

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