TALL GAYFEATHER
File Size: 112 KB
 
Liatris aspera  Michx.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Perennial
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.
Distribution: East half of Kansas.
Forage Value: When in the early growth stage, tall gayfeather is grazed by livestock.
Uses: Some Great Plains tribes of Native Americans used the boiled leaves and roots to treat intestinal pains.
Comments: The name button gayfeather comes from the button-like appearance of the flower heads prior to blooming. It is sometimes used in dried floral arrangements.

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