Blazing Stars

 

Two blazing star species in our garden are blooming now: Spike Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) and Prairie Blazing Star (L. pycnostachya).

The shorter spike blazing star was the first to bloom. We had put some spike blazing star in our tall-grass prairie planting at the base of the bank. Another name I have seen for spike blazing star in American literature is marsh blazing star, reflecting its distribution in areas with ample moisture. The base of the bank can be quite wet in spring, while the top of the bank can be very dry by mid-summer.

Spike blazing star (Liatris spicata), planted last September, starts to bloom in our tall grass planting.
Spike blazing star (Liatris spicata), planted last September, starts to bloom in our tall grass planting.

Spike blazing star occurs as a wildflower in southwestern Ontario. Probably the best place to see it in the wild is Ojibway Nature Preserve in Windsor, which is where I took this photo a few years ago.

A wild stand of spike blazing star, blooming in Ojibway Prairie Nature Preserve in Windsor, Ontario.
A wild stand of spike blazing star, blooming in Ojibway Prairie Nature Preserve in Windsor, Ontario.

Both species are very attractive to butterflies and large bumble bees.

White admiral on prairie blazing star in the swale garden.
White admiral on spike blazing star.

 

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Published by

Trish Murphy

Artist: botanical, still life, and natural history illustration. Garden designer: native plants and naturalistic gardens