dense blazing-star

Liatris spicata


Liatris spicata var. spicata
Laciniaria spicata

Other Common Names

mountain blazing-star, florist's gayfeather, dense gayfeather

Plant Type

Herbaceous Wildflower

Life Cycle


Typical Size

2-6 ft. tall
.5-1.5 ft. wide

Tolerant of

Deer, Occasional Flooding


By seed

Plant Propagation Notes

New colonies can be produced from its corms but seed is more common. Scarified seeds may be sown outside in late fall or stored, stratified 3 months at 40 degrees F), and sown the following spring. Wait until the flower heads on the entire stalk have turned fluffy tan before collecting seed.

Plant Planting Notes

Dense blazing star is attractive in mass plantings in a pollinator garden, perennial border, native plant garden, or cottage garden. Suitable for rain gardens.  Taller stems may require staking.

Wildlife Benefits

Nectar/pollen source for pollinating insects, Nectar source for hummingbirds


The basal clump of alternate, narrow deep green leaves with a strong central vein are up to 12 inches long and 1/3 inch wide. Leaves grow smaller as they ascend the flower stalk. They are glabrous to sparsely hairy. Margins are entire.


6-12 inch long flower spikes are densely packed with stemless flowers in purple, pink or white that bloom from the top down. Some cultivars have red flowers. Individual flowers contain 4 to 10 disks florets (no ray florets), are 1/3- 1/2 inch across with an exserted style.


Cypselae (a type of achene) with stiff light brown bristles in fall.


No known toxicity.

Liatris spicata
image or purple flower heads of Liatris spicata
image of Liatris spicata foliage
Liatris spicata flower heads and foliage
Liatris spicata range map

USDA Hardiness Zones

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Light Exposure

Full Sun

Soil Moisture


Soil Drainage


Soil pH

Acidic (less than 6.0), Neutral (6.0-8.0)

Native in South Carolina?


Plant Native Habitat

Prairies (calcareous), roadsides, seepages, bogs, and grassy balds.

Global Conservation Status (NatureServe)

Secure (G5)

Federal Conservation Status (USFWS)

Not Listed

Distribution Notes

Within SC, dense blazing star is absent in the Coastal Plain, rare in the Piedmont, and rare in the Mountains.