Liatris punctata (Dotted Blazing Star)
|Also known as:||Dotted Gayfeather, Narrow-leaved Blazing Star|
|Habitat:||sun; dry, sandy prairies|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in rounded pink to purple heads ½ to ¾ inch long, tightly packed in a spike-like cluster up to 10 inches long. Heads are made up of 3 to 8 star-shaped disk flowers each with a long curving divided style emerging from the center. The bracts are pressed flat against the head or only slightly spreading, broad at the base, sharply pointed at the tip, with long white hairs around the edges. Bract color is green to purplish. One plant may have multiple stems, each with a single spike that blooms from the top down.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are very narrow and grass-like, up to 4 inches long and ¼ inch wide near the base of the plant, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaves are covered in dots of resin, have short white hairs around the edges, are densely packed on the stem and tend to point upward but may be more spiraling at the base of the plant. Stems are usually multiple from the base, sometimes single, and are hairless.
There are 5 species of Blazing Star in Minnesota. A relatively easy way to tell similar species apart is by the shape of the bracts, which is unique for each species. Dotted Blazing Star has relatively large bracts that are pressed flat against the flower head or only slightly spreading, with long white hairs around the edges. It is also shorter than the other species and tends to grow in clumps.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Rice Creek Trail Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?