Home » Plants » Liatris spicata

Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.)

Also known as dense blazingstar, gayfeather, gay feather, marsh blazing star, marsh blazingstar, prairie feather.

Page contents

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded
Native or Expanded or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

This plant is widely used in gardens. Although it has been extirpated in parts of its range, garden escapes have led it to establish in new places elsehwere. We mark new populations expanded because they are relatively close to its native range.


Found in a variety of sunny, wet habitats, especially ones that alternate between wet and dry conditions, including wet meadows, sunny portions of floodplains, margins of marshes or bogs, fens, seeps in rock outcroppings, and areas where hardpan soils of clay or fine silt alternate between waterlogged and dry conditions. This species is uncommon to rare throughout much of its range, but can be locally abundant in some places where it occurs. Also occasionally found in anthropogenic habitats including along railroads, especially in habitat fragments resembling marshes or wet praries where it would naturally occur.

Tolerates a wide variety of soil textures, but is not competetive in loamy soils. Usually found in sandy soils, hardpan clay, or cracks in rock outcroppings.

This species prefers wetter habitats than most Liatris species.


This species is widely cultivated, and in most of its range it is much more common in gardens than in the wild.


Some sources also refer to this plant as having a common name of "button snakeroot"; we do not recommend using this name because it more frequently refers to rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), a plant that is not closely related. The other common names of dense blazing star, gayfeather, prairie feather, and marsh blazing star, listed roughly in order of frequency of use, all unambiguously refer to this species.

Liatris spicata (Marsh Blazingstar) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Liatris spicata (dense blazing star) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Liatris spicata | Go Botany (About This Site)

Dense Blazing Star | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Liatris spicata (Blazing Star) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Liatris spicata | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Liatris spicata | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Liatris spicata | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Liatris spicata | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Dense Blazing Star | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Liatris spicata (L.) Willd. var. resinosa (Nutt.) Gaiser (Dense Blazing Star) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)

Liatris spicata (L.) Willd. var. spicata (Dense Blazing Star) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)