Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom |Scaly Blazing Star

August 8, 2021

Scaly Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa)

Scaly Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa) is a perennial wildflower in the aster family with purple tuft-like flowers that are popular with botanists and pollinators alike. These flowers grow above large, square, overlapping bracts for which the plant is named. They grow on unbranched stems 1-3 feet tall with small alternate leaves. Scaly blazing star is native to dry, sunny habitats with rocky or sandy soils such as prairies, savannas, limestone and sandstone glades, and open woodlands. 

Populations of unplanted scaly blazing star can be indicators of high-quality native grasslands, as they thrive in dry soils and benefit from the natural cycles of burning that maintain natural grasslands. This makes it a popular choice in grassland restorations and pollinator plantings. 

Benefits to Biodiversity | Scaly blazing star is a host plant for several butterflies and moths, including specialist blazing star flower moths (Schinia sanguinea) and blazing star borer moths (Papaipema beeriana). It is one of the earliest-blooming blazing star species and is an important food source for native bees and butterflies. 

Sources: www.wildflower.orgwww.illinoiswildflowers.info,  www.prairiemoon.complants.ces.ncsu.edu 

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