Content tagged with "blazing star"

Outdoor Recreation

This content is archived
"Outdoor Recreation" for the July 2009 Missouri Conservationist. More

Prairie Blazing Star (Gayfeather; Button Snakeroot)

Photo of dense stand of prairie blazing star or gayfeather at Pawnee Prairie
To understand the name “gayfeather,” imagine yourself as a settler journeying west through what were formerly vast expanses of native tallgrass prairie. These showy flowers must have lifted hearts, even when the wagon wheel broke! More

Prairie Blazing Star (Gayfeather; Button Snakeroot)

Photo of prairie blazing star or gayfeather flowering stalks
The individual flowerheads of blazing stars (in the genus Liatris) and ironweeds (in the genus Vernonia) are quite similar: both groups have reddish-purple, fuzzy-looking flowerheads of 5-lobed, tubular florets with 2 long, threadlike style branches. However, blazing stars have the flowerheads arranged on a single, unbranching stalk, while ironweeds bear their flowerheads in branching clusters at the tops of the plant stems. More

Prairie Blazing Star (Gayfeather; Button Snakeroot)

Photo of several prairie blazing stars or gayfeathers in a prairie
Blazing stars are an important (and showy) part of the complex community of plants in the tallgrass prairie. There are 9 species of Liatris recorded for Missouri, and many of these have been known to hybridize where they occur in the same vicinity. This species, L. pycnostachya, is one of our most common, statewide. More

Prairie Blazing Star (Gayfeather; Button Snakeroot)

Photo of several prairie blazing stars or gayfeathers in yellow sunlight
Gayfeather occurs in glades, upland prairies, ledges and tops of bluffs, savannas, openings of upland forests, and rarely banks of streams; also ditch banks, fencerows, pastures, railroads, and roadsides. You can also find it at native plant nurseries and even florists’ shops! More

Prairie Blazing Star (Gayfeather; Button Snakeroot)

Photo of dense stand of prairie blazing star or gayfeather at Pawnee Prairie
Liatris pycnostachya
To understand the name "gayfeather," imagine yourself as a settler journeying west through what were formerly vast expanses of native tallgrass prairie. These showy flowers must have lifted hearts, even when the wagon wheel broke! More

Rough Blazing Star (Rough Gayfeather)

Photo of rough blazing star stalk closeup showing side view of flowerheads
Rough blazing star, Liatris aspera, can be told from other Missouri blazing stars by its involucral bracts—the overlapping leaflike structures at the base of each flowerhead. In this species, they are rounded, somewhat spreading, appearing pouched or swollen, and mostly with broad, thin, pale to transparent margins that are sometimes strongly purplish-tinged. More

Rough Blazing Star (Rough Gayfeather)

Photo of rough blazing star showing flowerheads at tip of stalk
Rough blazing star is fairly common and scattered nearly statewide. To distinguish between Missouri’s nine species in the genus Liatris, start by noting details of the flower structure. It’s not hard when you know what to look for. In this species, note the rounded, pouched, purple-edged bracts at the base of the flowerhead. More

Rough Blazing Star (Rough Gayfeather)

Photo of rough blazing star showing flowerheads at tip of stalk
Liatris aspera
Rough blazing star is fairly common and scattered nearly statewide. To distinguish between Missouri’s nine species in the genus Liatris, start by noting details of the flower structure. It’s not hard when you know what to look for. More