Blazing Stars: North American Prairie

Blazing Stars(Liatris spicata). Aster family. Native to Ohio. Also known as Gayfeather. Similar
to a related species, Rough blazing star (Liatris aspera), which prefers dry, sandy, habitat, and
begins to flower two or three weeks later than its cousin.

The Blazing stars are unusual in that they flower from 'the top down', that is, the blossoms open
from the top of the spike downward. They begin about the middle of July, and proceed downwards
until they bottom out around the end of August. It's nice to watch this top-to-bottom movement as
a kind of natural calendar for what one might think of as High Summer, or the hottest and driest part
of the sandy oak/tallgrass prairie year. This particular species (look for very many narrow leaves)
grows in moist prairies, prairie remnants. (Photograph made during the last week of July, 2000.)

(Can be found flowering now at Irwin Prairie, just south of Secor Park)

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Photograph © 2001 Cliff Crego