Prairie Blazing Star

  • Scientific Name: Liatris pycnostachya
  • A hardy native perennial forb
  • Tall, slender purple-flowered spikelike
  • Can grow up to 5 feet tall
  • Used on roadsides, prairie restoration, wildlife cover
  • Widely used for landscaping

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.


Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya) is a hardy native perennial forb. It features a slender purple-flowered spikelike that can grow up to 5 feet tall. It has abundant grasslike leaves and hairy stems. The lowest leaves can be well over 1 foot long and up to ½ inch wide. The flower heads are in a dense spike at the top of the plant and bloom top-down. The stamens and styles protrude from the tufted flower heads creating a soft fuzzy appearance. It is one of the most popular varieties of blazing star. Its scientific name comes from the Greek “crowded”. It is commonly used in ornamental cuttings.

This is an excellent pollinator species that attracts many species of butterflies, nectar bees and nectar insects. It is found in many pollinator seed mixes.

It is often used for roadside plantings, prairie restoration, wildlife cover, landscaping, and plant diversity in prairie communities. Blooms July-August. Germinates well when seed is planted in the fall (November-December). It is native to the midwest where it naturally occurs on prairies, rocky bluffs and open areas. It prefers slightly acidic, poor, well-drained soils and demonstrates both heat and drought tolerance.

Synonyms include Prairie Gayfeather, Kansas Blazing Star, Kansas Gayfeather, Cat-tail Blazing Star, Cat-tail Gayfeather and Hairy Button-snakeroot

For solid-stand plantings sow up to 12 pounds per acre. In open prairie plantings or seed mixtures sow 0.50 to 1.50 pounds per acre.


***Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

(Liatris pycnostachya )

Prairie Blazing Star (Thickspike Gayfeather) NRCS Plant Guide

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Citation: Melinda Brakie, Alan Shadow, and Richard Wynia. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Manhattan Plant Materials Center, Manhattan, Kansas 66502 and USDA East Texas Plant Materials Center, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964.

Download PDF

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Prairie Blazing Star
  • Liatris pycnostachya

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Button Snakeroot

Scientific Name:


Native or Introduced:

Plant Type:

Hardiness Zones

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Seeds per lb.

Planting Rate:

Max Sowing Depth:


Late July-September

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