Height: 5 feet
Description: The most moisture-tolerant of Liatris species, this blazing star does equally well in sunny, well-drained garden sites. For about three weeks in mid- to late summer, it sports purple wands of stemless, crowded flowers, facing all directions and blossoming from the top of the stem down. Looks best when it's paired with a finely-textured sedge or grass, such as brown fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea).
Attracts: The flowerheads are cross-pollinated bybumblebees, long-horned bees (Melissodes spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachilespp.), butterflies, and skippers. These insects suck nectar, although some of the bees also collect pollen for their larvae. Two uncommon prairie insects feed on Liatris spp. (blazing stars): caterpillars of Schinia sanguinea (Liatris Flower Moth) feed on the florets and developing seeds, while caterpillars of Carmenta anthracipennis (Liatris Borer Moth) bore through the stems. Mammalian herbivores eat this and other blazing stars readily.