Liatris scariosa

Botanical Name: Liatris scariosa
Family : Asteraceae or Compositae
Genus: Liatris
Species:  Liatris scariosa (L.) Willd. var. novae-angliae (Lunell)
Division:  Magnoliophyta – Flowering Plants
Class : Magnoliopsida
Sub Class : Asteridae
Order : Asterales

Synonyms : L. squarrulosa. Laciniaria scariosa.

Common Names: Devil’s Bite, New England blazing star, Savanna Blazingstar

Habitat : Liatris scariosa is native to South-eastern N. America. It grows in dry stony soils on prairies and open forest glades.

Description:
Liatris scariosa is a perennial plant. It grows 2½–5′ tall, erect, and unbranched. The central stem is medium green, glabrous to short-pubescent, and terete. Numerous alternate leaves are arranged densely around the stem; they are widely spreading. The lower leaves are up to 12″ long and 1½” across; they are broadly linear to elliptic oblong in shape. The middle to upper leaves become gradually smaller as they ascend the stem, becoming linear in shape and as little as 3″ long. All of the leaves are medium green and their margins are smooth; they are usually hairless, except for their margins, which are often slightly ciliate. The lower leaves usually have petioles, while the middle to upper leaves are sessile. The inflorescence consists of a narrow raceme of flowerheads up to 2′ long. The flowerheads begin to bloom from the top of inflorescence, then they gradually bloom below until the bottom is reached. Each inflorescence has 10-40 flowerheads. Each flowerhead is located at the apex of an ascending stalk (peduncle) about ½–3½” long; a stalk may branch to produce 2-3 flowerheads, but this is atypical. At the base of each stalk, there is a sessile leafy bract that resembles the upper leaves. Both the central stalk and lateral stalks of the raceme are short-pubescent .

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Individual flowerheads span 1-2″ across, consisting of 25-80 pink disk florets and no ray florets. The tubular disk florets have 5 spreading narrow lobes. The bifurcated styles are light pink and strongly exerted from the disk florets, providing the flowerheads with a shaggy appearance. At the base of each flowerhead, there are scale-like floral bracts (phyllaries) that are arranged together in about 5 overlapping series; they are ascending to slightly spreading, but neither recurved nor appressed. Individual floral bracts are oval or obovate in shape and ciliate along their margins; they become dark reddish purple when their flowerheads bloom, otherwise they are dull green. The blooming period occurs from late summer to mid-fall and lasts about 1½ months. The disk florets are replaced by bullet-shaped achenes, which have tufts of barbed tawny hairs. The root system consists of a bulb-like corm with fibrous roots. Vegetative offsets are produced from new corms.
It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation :
Grows well in a moderately good light soil. Tolerates poor soils. Plants are prone to rot overwinter in wet soils. There are several named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. A good bee plant. Rodents are very fond of the tubers so the plants may require some protection.

Propagation ;
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in autumn in a greenhouse. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in the year in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spri. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings taken in spring as growth commences. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Appetizer; Diuretic; Poultice; Tonic.

The root is appetizer, diuretic and tonic. It is used in the treatment of abdominal complaints, kidney and bladder problems. A poultice made from the powdered roots is applied to snake bites and external inflammations.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=492
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Liatris+scariosa
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/sv_blazingstar.htm

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