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Also Known As: Gay-Feather, Blazing-Star, Button Snakeroot

Botanical Name: Liatris spicata or L. pycnostachya

Pronunciation: lee-A-tris spi-KAY-ta pr pick-no-STAC-e

Family Name: Compositae (aster)

Origin: North America

Common Relatives: gerbera, sunflower, aster, chrysanthemum

Introduction: Just to make a name for itself in its crowded Aster family, Liatris spicata opens from the top down, the opposite of most vertical flowers. Its needle-like petals also distinguish it from most in the Compositae family of over 20,000 species, creating a fancy feather duster, with blooms that last up to 14 days. One lesser known fact of the Aster family (which includes daisies) is that the flowers are actually a composite of many individual flowers on one head.

Interesting Facts:

  • One very unusual aspect of this species is that the flowers on spike open from the top down, not from the bottom up as with most spike type flowers. The specific epithet name spicata means with spikes, in reference to its flower form.
  • Varieties available include 'Floristan Purple', 'Floristan White', 'Gloriosa' (purple), 'September Glory' (purple), and 'White Spires'. Very difficult group as it has been complicated by the hybridization of some of the species.
  • Choose stems with only the top third flowers open.
  • Suitable for drying- allow all flowers on spike to open first, strip leaves and hang upside down until dry. One of relatively blue-colored spike flowers for use as cut flowers and garden plants.
  • Resembling a feather duster, isn’t it hard to believe these unusual blooms are part of the Daisy family? The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
  • Small individual flowers with needle-like petals on dense spikes 6 inches long at stem ends
  • plant is an herbaceous perennial, dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined
Availability: year-round

Flower Color: purple, white

Fragrance: none

Decorative Life: 6-14 days

Special Care Tips: Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution. Change solution frequently to prevent contamination.

Ethylene Sensitivity: no

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