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Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
prairie blazing-star Liatris pycnostachya
Photo © 2018, Joe Bauer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Prairie blazing-star is found statewide in prairies and some fens. A single plant may attain a height of up to 48 inches. This member of the aster family has unbranched, hairy stems and leaves that are shaped much like a blade of grass. Blue-purple to red-pink flower heads are produced from September through October. The flower heads are in a spike at the top of the plant and attach directly to the stem. Bracts below the flower heads are pointed, long and the tip of each bends away from the stem. Pollinators are attracted to the nectar and pollen from this species.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.