Purple Gayfeather Wildflowers and a Meadow Fritillary Butterfly
near Lake Meyers in northeast Iowa. USA
Liatris aspera Michx.
Height: 16-48 inches
Family: Asteraceae – Sunflower Family
Flowering Period: August, September
Also Called: Button gayfeather, button blazing star.
Stems: Stiffly erect, 1 to several, unbranched, glabrous or short-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, stalked, uppermost sessile, linear-lanceolate to linear, 2 to 8 inches long, .25 to 1.5 inch wide, often covered with resinous dots; margins entire; upper leaves reduced in size.
Inflorescences: Elongate, spike-like, to 18 inches tall, with few to many well-separated heads; heads sessile or short-stalked, .5 to 1 inch wide; bracts purplish, wrinkled, glabrous, rounded at tips.
Flowers: Ray florets absent; disk florets 16-40, rose-purple, corollas pubescent inside.
Fruits: Achenes, pubescent, ribbed, brown, tipped with many barbed bristles, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry, open, rocky or sandy prairies.
Uses: Some Great Plains tribes of Native Americans used the boiled leaves and roots to treat intestinal pains.