T he Asteraceae are awesome. So many shapes and colors from which to choose!Members of this varied family can be found in yellow, white, pinks and purples.Some like it wet, some like it dry.
One of our local experts, Roger Troutman is a Greater Mohican Audubon and Mohican Native Plant Society member. He is well known and respected for both his bird and plant knowledge. He has spent a quite a bit of time studying the intricacies of Liatris sp. and recently provided a program for Gorman Nature Center and a great key to the Ohio Liatris was reproduced in the MNPS newsletter.
Liatris has a foothold in the landscape plant world, so you may at least recognize this Ohio native. The one most commonly seen is Spiked Blazing-Star, Liatris spicata. A lovely specimen with compact florets completely surrounding the stem. I have seen this versatile plant growing in the cracks of limestone at the Marblehead Quarry and sprouting on seeps at Cedar Bog. It seems this plant is as easy to please as a happy cowboy just in from the range. Now that’s easy!
One of the most beautiful, Scaly Blazing-Star, Liatris squarosa can be found in the Oak Openings, and prairies of Adams County. This one has tufted florets spaced farther apart on the stem. They seem to be larger and showier to my novice’s eye. And I love the showy plants! :) This photo was taken at the Heritage Garden at the Gov’s.
Liatris is the perfect antidote for Purple Loosetrife, Lythrum salicaria. So if you still have some of that noxious weed (hey, that’s the Feds term for it- not mine!) give it the shovel and replace it with Liatris, an Asteraceae and a gentleman.