Liatris punctata (Dotted Blazing Star)

Plant Info
Also known as: Dotted Gayfeather, Narrow-leaved Blazing Star
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry, sandy prairies
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: round Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in rounded pink to purple heads ½ to ¾ inch long, tightly packed in a spike-like cluster up to 10 inches long. Heads are made up of 3 to 8 star-shaped disk flowers each with a long curving divided style emerging from the center. The bracts are pressed flat against the head or only slightly spreading, broad at the base, sharply pointed at the tip, with long white hairs around the edges. Bract color is green to purplish. One plant may have multiple stems, each with a single spike that blooms from the top down.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are very narrow and grass-like, up to 4 inches long and ¼ inch wide near the base of the plant, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaves are covered in dots of resin, have short white hairs around the edges, are densely packed on the stem and tend to point upward but may be more spiraling at the base of the plant. Stems are usually multiple from the base, sometimes single, and are hairless.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a small dark seed with a tuft of light brown hair to carry it off in the wind.


There are 5 species of Blazing Star in Minnesota. A relatively easy way to tell similar species apart is by the shape of the bracts, which is unique for each species. Dotted Blazing Star has relatively large bracts that are pressed flat against the flower head or only slightly spreading, with long white hairs around the edges. It is also shorter than the other species and tends to grow in clumps.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Rice Creek Trail Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Suzanne - Zumbro township
on: 2014-08-18 09:37:12

Found on small prairie remnant Rohlfing property T109, R14, S15. Photo verification by Hannah texler. Of interest: The flowers are white.

Posted by: james - st.paul
on: 2015-08-11 13:20:14

the flowers are very unique.

Posted by: David Olson - Prairie Woods EEC
on: 2021-08-06 08:38:00

Found these at the Prairie Woods Environmental Education Center outside of Spicer. There's a nice remnant on two hills to the north of the interpretive center.

Posted by: Jillian Fejszes - Marshall County
on: 2021-10-01 13:38:31

Found along Pembina Trail and surrounding areas

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