Liatris scariosa

Liatris scariosa (L.) Willd.

Languages: English


General Description

"35. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow, Sp. Pl. 3: 1635. 1803 · Northern gayfeatherSerratula scariosa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl.2: 818. 1753; Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill Plants 30–150 cm. Corms subglobose. Stems puberulent (atleast distally, sometimes glabrousproximally).

 Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, elliptictooblanceolate-spatulate, 120–300 × 25–50(–55) mm, bruptly, gradually, or little reduced distally, essentially glabrous, weakly, if at all, glanddotted.Heads in racemiform arrays. Peduncles usually (ascending) 10–50 mm.

Involucres campanulate to turbinate-camanulate, 11–15 × (12–)15–22(–25) mm.

Phyllaries in (3–)4–5 series, (erect or outer sometimes spreading-reflexing) oblong-obovate to broadly obovate (not bullate), unequal, glabrous or minutely puberulent, margins usually with relatively narrow, hyaline borders,apices broadly rounded. Florets 19–80; corolla tubes usually pilose inside, sometimes glabrous (Arkansas,Illinois, Missouri). Cypselae 4.5–6(–6.5) mm; pappi:lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles barbellate. Varieties 3 (3 in the flora): United States.1. Stems with 8–20(–25) leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 20–40(–50). . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35a. Liatris scariosa var. scariosa1. Stems with 20–85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 30–80.[2. Shifted to left margin.—Ed.] 2. Proximal cauline leaves mostly 25–50(–55) mm wide, hirtello-puberulent (and gland-dotted) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35b. Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii 2. Proximal cauline leaves mostly 7–20(–26) mm wide, glabrous or hirtello-puberulent (weakly, if at all, gland-dotted) . . . . . . . . . . . . 35c. Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae

35a. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow var. scariosa Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill var. borealis (Nuttall ex J. McNab) Lunell; L. scariosa var. virginiana Lunell; Liatris borealis Nuttall ex J. McNab; L. scariosa var. virginiana (Lunell) Gaiser Plants 30–80(–100) cm.

Stems with 8–20(–25) leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline elliptic- to oblanceolatespatulate, mostly 100–280 × 16–40(–45) mm, glabrous (weakly, if at all, gland-dotted). Heads usually 19–30.Florets 19–33.Flowering Aug–Sep(–Oct). Rock ledges, shale banksand barrens, limestone and sandstone outcrops, road banks, flood plains, dry woods; 600–1600 m; Md., N.C.,Pa., Tenn., Va., W.Va.Variety scariosa is an Appalachian entity that might justifiably be treated as distinct from ars. novae-anglieae and nieuwlandii at species level, as done by Shinners. It has shorter stems and smaller heads than vars. nieuwlandii and novae-angliae, and the transition in shape and size from basal to cauline leaves is more


35b. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow var. nieuwlandii (Lunell) E. G. Voss, Michigan Bot. 34: 139. 1996 Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill var. nieuwlandii Lunell, Amer. Midl. Naturalist 2: 176. 1912 (asLaciniaria); Liatris ×nieuwlandii (Lunell) Gaiser; L. novae-angliae(Lunell) Shinners var. nieuwlandii(Lunell) Shinners

Plants 30–100 cm. Stems with 20–85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline usually narrowly lanceolate-spatulate, sometimes broader, mostly 100–500 × 25–50(–55) mm, glabrous or hirtello  puberulent (gland-dotted). Heads usually 9–20. Florets 30–80.Flowering Aug–Sep(–Oct). Prairies, glades, open woods, bluff ledges, railroads, rocky limestone soils, red clays, jack pine, pine-oak, oak-juniper, oak-hickory,aspen;   100–500 m; Ark., Ill., Ind., Mich., Mo., N.Y.,Ohio, Pa., W.Va., Wis.Plants of var. nieuwlandii are usually relatively all and have relatively numerous, even-sized, denselyarranged, lanceolate cauline leaves."

Nesom, Guy L.  in Flora of North America, Vol 21 Liatris p533 “Liatris Scariosa” Oxford University Press, Inc.; New York, NY, 2006

Author(s): Nesom, Guy
Rights holder(s): Nesom, Guy

Ecology and Distribution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils. Prefers dry, sandy or rocky soils. Will grow taller in fertile loams, but may need staking. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but may take several years to establish. Plants may self-seed in the garden in open areas.

Author(s): Tegegn, Tseday
Rights holder(s): Tegegn, Tseday


  • Lacinaria scariosa (L.) Hill (synonym)
  • Serratula scariosa L. (synonym)


Nesom, G. L. (2006).  Liatris. Flora of North America. 21, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. .
von Linné, C., & Salvii. L. (1753).  Caroli Linnaei ... Species plantarum :exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas....