Dotted Blazing Star
Liatris punctata Hook.
The purple bottlebrush-like flowers on this very nice native plant provide a splash of vivid color later in the summer and early fall when most other flowering plants are winding down. The bright flowers seem to attract butterflies by the score. Dotted blazing star, which grows around the state, is more drought tolerant than Liatris spicata (a plant from the eastern U.S.), the Liatris species most commonly found in nurseries. Be patient if growing this plant from seed or seedlings—it grows a bit slowly and can take a year or two to bulk up and bloom. Plants become difficult to transplant when larger. Dotted blazing star can reseed.
Water needs: very dry but adaptable
Exposure: full sun
Availability in nurseries: fairly uncommon but can be started easily from seed
Native range: central U.S. (MT to TX) and central Canada (WY native)
Plant family: Asteraceae
Photo by Jennifer Thompson
Photo by Brenna Marsicek