Dotted Blazingstar
Liatris punctata
Other names: Dotted Gayfeather
Family: Asteraceae, Aster or Composite
Genus: Liatris

Plant height: 10-40 cm tall.
Growth habit: perennial from a well developed, thickened,
elongated stem base.
Stems: several from base, hairless.
Leaves: alternate, numerous, linear, 2.5-7 mm wide,
dotted with tiny pits, hairless except for coarse hairs on
the edges. The lowermost commonly smaller than those
just above and soon dropped.
Flowerheads: pink-purple, with 4-6 disk florets, several
in a spike-like cluster, stalkless. Stigmas have long,
thread-like appendages. Corolla lobes hairless, the tube
hairy toward the base within. Involucre almost cylindric,
10-18 mm high, its bracts oblong, abruptly sharp-pointed,
often long-hairy on edges.
Flowering time: July-September.
Fruits: achenes, hairy, 10-ribbed, with pappus of white,
feathery bristles.

Dry, open places, roadsides, often in sandy soil, mostly e.
of the continental divide in MT. Also from Alberta to
Manitoba, MI, AR, and n. Mexico.

Edible and Medicinal plant, see below.
(click on image for full size)

English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
(click on images for full size)

Some tribes on the plains used the thickened stem bases of blazingstar as survival food, but generally they were used as medicine. The roots of most Liatris species contain the starch inulin, which can't be metabolized by humans, but which is considered a mild liver and kidney tonic. Blazingstar tea was used to treat kidney, bladder and menstrual problems, water retention, gonorrhea, colic, throat inflammation and laryngitis. It was also gargled to soothe sore throats. Mashed roots were applied to snake bites as a poultice, and they were also simmered in honey to make a cough syrup. In New Mexico, dried roots were burned like incense. The smoke was inhaled to relieve headaches and nosebleeds, and it was also blown into the throat to cure inflamed tonsils.

Copyright ©