(Bristle Leaf Chaffhead; Lavender Lady; False Liatris)
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
This plant is an upright, clump forming, herbaceous perennial to 5 feet tall. Its preferred habitat is pinelands, wooded slopes, glades, bald knobs, meadows and upland forests. Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.
The leaves are very long to 12 inches by 1/4 inch wide (linear), conspicuously reduced below the spike-like inflorescence. The plant stem is usually densely pubescent.
The individual flower heads are about 1/2 inch long, 5 to 7 disc flowers. The stigmas extend beyond the purplish corollas. The involucral bracts are tinged with purplish tips, reflexed and ciliate (a fringe of marginal hairs found on the leaves, corolla or chaffy bracts) on the margins. The flowers generally open from top to bottom on the spike. Flowers are bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form.
Fruit is achene.
The Latin description means "crowded" in Greek, and is probably a reference to the arrangement of both flower heads and leaves. This species is distinguished from other Liatris by its reflexed, long-tipped involucral bracts. Because of its extreme height, the plant often reclines until the flower spike matures, at which time the spike turns skyward.