Eastern (Savanna) Blazing Star (Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii)
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Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii
Exposure: Partial sun- Full Sun Soil: Medium-Dry Height: 2-3 feet Bloom: August-September
Notable Features: It prefers medium to dry soils, especially with a sandy or rocky component. It can grow between 2-3’ tall; taller in moister soils. The purple flowers grow in columned bunches that can extend up to 18” of the overall plant stem. Flowers bloom from the top of the plant toward the bottom, so may fall over unless tied to a stake. These flowers attract many bees and butterflies, especially bumblebees and Monarch butterflies. The foliage can be quite appetizing to deer and rabbits, especially in the early years, so keep them protected until they are established.
Attracts: The flowerheads attract butterflies and skippers primarily, especially Monarch butterflies. The caterpillars of some oligophagous moths are known to feed on Liatris spp. (Blazing stars). These species include Schinia sanguinea (Bleeding Flower Moth), Schinia gloriosa (Glorious Flower Moth), Papaipema beeriana (Blazingstar Borer Moth), and Carmenta anthracipennis (Liatris Borer Moth). There is also an oligophagous aphid, Aphis laciniariae, that sucks juices from Blazing stars. The foliage is readily eaten by deer, rabbits, groundhogs, cattle, and other mammalian herbivores. Voles sometimes feed on the corms.