Hi, Dr. Hill,
I hope you can identify this for me. I found several kinds of liatris growing in the same general area in the Fall Line and collected seeds. Two were easy to identify and two were not. This one is came from those seeds and is growing in similar conditions to the original: full sun on a slope, mostly sandy soil with a little clay, protected from the harshest late afternoon sun. The photos were taken in late August – Sept 1. It was the earliest blooming of my native Liatris plants, but I don’t know if that was due to its pampered treatment.
Liatris is another difficult genus without having specimens in hand and a microscope. Some of the features I see are sessile flower heads, and the bracts are more obtuse than acute. However, some do look acute, and this makes things more difficult. One feature I cannot see is whether or not the corolla tube is pilose within. One needs a microscope and specimen in hand for this. So, if the corolla tube is glabrous within, it could be Liatris spicata. If they are pilose within it could be L. graminifolia or L. regimontis. If there are 10-12 flowers in a head, it is more likely L. graminifolia, if only 4-7 flowered it would fit L. regimontis better. Yet it may not be either! That’s the best I can do at the moment.
Steven Hill, Ph.D., Botanist SCNPS