Purple on the Prairie by lorilee

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Prairie Blazing Star found on Brooks/Lease Prairie near my home in northeast Iowa.

Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star)

Plant Info Also known as: Cat-tail Gayfeather, Thick-spike Gayfeather, Tall Blazing Star
Genus: Liatris
Family: Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle: perennial
Origin: native
Habitat: sun; moist soil; fields, prairies, glades
Bloom season: summer
Plant height: 2 to 5 feet

Flower: 5-petals spike
Flowers are in rounded pink to purple heads about 1/3 inch across, densely packed in a thick spike cluster up to a foot long. Heads are made up of 5 to 10 star-shaped disk flowers each with 2 long styles emerging from the center. The bracts are pinkish red and have narrow tips that curl back away from the flowers. One plant has a single spike that blooms from the top down.

Leaves and stem: alternate simple
Leaves are very narrow, crowded on the stem and become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. Near the base of the plant they may be over 12 inches long and ½ inch wide while near the flowers only 1 inch long and less than 1/8 inch wide. Leaves are toothless and may be hairless or finely hairy and slightly rough. The main stem is ridged and hairy to varying degrees.

Fruit is a small barbed seed with a tuft of hair to carry it off in the wind.

There are 5 species of Blazing Star all with similar flowers and a good way to tell them apart is by the bracts, which is unique for each species. Prairie Blazing Star has relatively narrow pinkish red bracts with tips that curl back away from the flower head. It also has a thicker spike than other varieties and may grow taller than others. It can grow singly or in small groups.



Hello! I am a wife, mother, worship leader and piano teacher. Photography is a new passion of mine. I also enjoy singing, playing the piano & flute, bicycling and the theatre! Thank you for all your kindness and support here. God bless you!

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  • BrendaForsey
    BrendaForseyalmost 3 years ago

    A beautiful capture, the purples are so vibrant, and the greens are so complimentary..lovely detailing as well…Fabulous!

  • Thank you so much, Brenda!!

    – lorilee

  • BSDVisions
    BSDVisionsalmost 3 years ago

    Exceptional capture, very beautiful colors and the exposure is great! ++++++++++++++

  • Thank you, Barbara!!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • Fara
    Faraalmost 3 years ago

    Isn’t it lovely to go out walking and find treasure like this……..thank you for sharing it!!

  • Thanks, Fara!!!! You’re very kind!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotalmost 3 years ago

    Beautifully composed. I like the way you filled the frame from top to bottom with these beautiful flowers.

  • Thank you so much, Dot!!!!

    – lorilee

  • maggie326
    maggie326almost 3 years ago


  • Thank you, Maggie!!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • Rick  Friedle
    Rick Friedlealmost 3 years ago

    Beautiful capture!

  • Thanks, Rick!!! ;-)

    – lorilee

  • Sheryl Gerhard
    Sheryl Gerhardalmost 3 years ago

    Beautiful lorilee.

  • Thank you so much, Sheryl!!!

    – lorilee

  • barnsis
    barnsisalmost 3 years ago

    Beautiful flowers, fantastic lighting

  • Thank you, Byron & Julie!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • Debbie Robbins
    Debbie Robbinsalmost 3 years ago


  • Hello, Miss Debbie!!!! Thank you so very much!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • Roger Jewell
    Roger Jewellalmost 3 years ago


  • Thanks, Roger!!!!! :-)

    – lorilee

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