Edge of the Prairiethe sand prairies and savannas of the Chicago region

    Liatris aspera
    Rough blazing-star

A long lived perennial, growing from a thick deep root (or corm), Liatris aspera creates a spectacular display on xeric sand prairies from mid August to mid September, typically blooming along with western sunflower (Helianthus occidentalis), and flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata.

Liatris aspera blooming in a 'blow-out'

The photo on Edge of the Prairie's Xeric Sand Prairie page shows this assemblage on a sand prairie at Big Eastern, in Starke County, Indiana. In the case of the population at Big Eastern another common associate is pictured in the background to the photograph above: Froelichia floridana campestris, a plant which is locally abundant (See Swink and Wilhelm) where bare sand is exposed--in this case a blowout.

Liatris aspera at Lena Park, Indiana

The photograph above was taken with a Nikon CoolPix 950 during the summer of 2000; the lavender color is more typical of the species. In the background the yellow flowers of a typical associate, Helianthus occidentalis can be seen.

Liatris aspera produces copious quantities of seeds, which like most prairie forbs seeds are fluffy and can be carried on the wind.

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Close-up of a Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on Liatris aspera, at Lena Park, Starke County Indiana. [130k]

Liatris aspera colony looking downhill. [153k]

Liatris aspera colony with an oak in the background. The yellow flowers are Heliantus occidentalis a common associate. [116k]

All photographs by Marty Lucas and © Becknell and Lucas Media, Ltd. Students may freely use these images in school reports not for publication without requesting permission. Others, please request permission by writing e-mail to Marty Lucas. Requests for uses aiding in the understanding and appreciation of prairies and native plants are routinely granted. Higher resolution photographs (sans copyright notice) suitable for printing are available for purchase.

    Links


The Sand Prairie in August on our companion site, LenaPark.net, includes some close-up photographs of butterflies nectaring on Liatris aspera.

Liatris aspera on the Illinois State Museum site, with a photo by Kenneth Robertson.

Liatris aspera on the Wisconsin State Herbarium.

Blazing Star on the Lycos wildflower guide.

 

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