Classification Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheophyta
Superdivision Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Subclass Asteridae
Order Asterales
Family Asteraceae
Genus Liatris
Species Liatris pycnostachya
Prairie blazing star

Date: XXXXXXXX 2010. Location: XXXXXXXXX (map)

BONAP, FNA, ITIS, USDA, VPI

Scientific Name: Liatris pycnostachya

Common name: Prairie blazing star

Origin: Native

Notes: perennials. Iowa has seven native species of Liatris: L. aspera, L. cylindracea, L. ligulistylis, L. punctata, L. pycnostachya, and L. squarrosa. Only two of these are common in eastern Iowa—L. aspera and L. pycnostachya.

These two can be distinguished by several features. L. aspera has heads with more than 14 florets (often more than 20), the heads are not crowded together and the lower heads may stand out on pedicels, the upper end of phyllaries are broad and toothed. The leaves have a single easily visible vein. L. pycnostachya has fewer than 14 florets per head (often 3-7), heads are sessile (lack pedicels) and crowded on the stem, upper end of phyllaries are pointed and often recurved; 3 to 5 veins are easily visible on the lower leaves.

Additional references: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Field Marks for Identification:

Flowers: purple; corolla 5 lobed, 2 stigma lobes per flower; floral heads with 3-7 florets are sessile and crowded on the upright stem, inflorescence blooms from top down; phyllaries are pointed at the top and often bent outward.

Leaves: linear, sessile, the larger leaves showing 3 to 5 veins running their length.

Glossaries of botanical terms: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

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