dotted blazing star

(Liatris punctata var. punctata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

dotted blazing star

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry. Sandy soil. Prairies, meadows, open places.

Flowering

July to September

     
Flower Color

Pink

     
Height

Up to 16

     

Identification

This is a 8 to 16 tall, erect, long-lived, perennial forb that rises on one to several stems from a corm. The corm is vertical, thickened, elongated, tapered, and pointed at the end, resembling a taproot. Occasionally it becomes a somewhat horizontally spreading rhizome.

In the first year it appears as a rosette of basal leaves and develops an elongated, taproot-like corm up to 35 deep. In subsequent years it sends up an aerial stem and the rootstock grows deeper, eventually reaching as much as 16.4 in deep soils.

The stems are erect, very leafy, and hairless. They are not covered with glands.

Basal leaves form a rosette. Stem leaves are alternate but may be so closely spaced that they appear whorled, especially near the base. Basal and lower stem leaves are short-stalked, linear, 4 to 5½ long, and up to ¼ wide. The lowermost stem leaves are small and somewhat sheath the stem. They are smaller than those above and are usually absent at flowering time. The largest leaves are immediately above those. The upper and lower surfaces are grayish-green, hairless, and densely covered with translucent, sunken, resin glands. There is a single prominent midvein and no visible parallel veins. The margins are light, thickened, untoothed, and often turned under. At least some of the leaves have a moderate to dense fringe of hairs. The hairs break off with age leaving a minute, stubby base. Middle and upper stem leaves are similar, ascending, stalkless, and to 4¾ long, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stem.

The inflorescence is a dense, leafy, unbranched, elongated, up to 12 long, spike-like cluster of up to 24 flower heads at the end of the stem. The flower heads are closely spaced and stalkless or almost stalkless. Each flower head is subtended by a single leaf-like bract. The axis of the inflorescence is mostly not visible between the heads.

The flower heads are about ½ wide and ½ to ¾ long. The terminal head is sometimes slightly longer than the others. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is narrowly cup-shaped to nearly cylinder-shaped, and to 9 16 long. The bracts making up the involucre are in usually 4, sometimes 5, overlapping series. They are mostly oblong inversely egg-shaped. They taper to a sharp point at the tip. The tips are ascending or somewhat spreading. The outer surface is covered with translucent, sunken, resin glands. The margins have a fringe of cobwebby hairs.

There are 4 to 8 disk florets and no ray florets. Each disk floret has 5 petals fused for most of their length into a tube then separated at the tip into 5 lobes. The corolla tube is white at the base grading to pink at the tip. There are 5 stamens concealed within the corolla tube and a long, white, forked style that protrudes well beyond the tip of the corolla tube. There is no fragrance.

The fruit is a dry achene (cypsela) with bristles attached. The bristles are feather-like (plumose), though this may be difficult to see without a hand lens.

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Asteraceae (aster)

 

Subfamily:

Asteroideae

 

Supertribe:

Helianthodae

 

Tribe:

Eupatorieae

 

Subtribe:

Liatrinae

 
Synonyms

Liatris punctata var. nebraskana

 
Common
Names

dotted blazing star

dotted gayfeather


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Corm

A short, solid, vertical, thickened, underground stem that serves as a storage organ.

 

Cypsela

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed from the wall of the inferior ovary and also from other tissues derived from the receptacle or hypanthium, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Involucre

A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Plumose

Feathery; having fine, pinnately arranged, lateral bristles or hairs arranged on both sides of an axis.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

       

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  dotted blazing star   dotted blazing star
       
  dotted blazing star   dotted blazing star (var. punctata)
       
  dotted blazing star (var. punctata)    
       

Inflorescence

  dotted blazing star   dotted blazing star
       
  dotted blazing star   dotted blazing star
       

Leaves

  dotted blazing star    
       

Stem

  dotted blazing star    
       
       

 

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  Liatris punctata
Matt Lavin
 
  Liatris punctata  
 
About

The grass-like basal leaves, showy purplish flowering spikes of discoid heads (disk flowers only), and plumose pappus are distinctive of this species. Taprooted perennial herb, stems bunched and 10-70 mm high, the basal leaves long and linear (almost grass-like), very in open dry settings through Montana including Wyoming and mountain big sagebrush steppe.

 
     

 

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