Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 26 comments

It’s time for the flowering of Liatris mucronata, known as gayfeather and blazing-star. Can you see the figurative little stars blazing away in there?

Today’s view comes from September 4th on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville.

Liatris Flower Spike Close 4344

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2015 at 5:32 AM

26 Responses

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  1. I can see them! Beautiful work Steve!

    Maria F.

    September 14, 2015 at 5:39 AM

  2. Wildflowers with music. A great combination. I didn’t know of Manuel Ponce. Estrellita is a beautiful song to end my day.


    September 14, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    • … and to launch mine. I first heard “Estrellita” in 1968 or 1969 when I lived in Honduras. It’s a ‘little star’ I never mind hearing, and in fact the song has been going through my head all morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2015 at 9:19 AM

  3. And now mine~thank you for introducing us to it. Liatris sp. are a fine hurrah toward the end of the season. This is a good year for them at Illinois Beach. There we have L. spicata and cylindrica blooming. Sometimes people here call them gayfeather too, but now I see yours I think it is the real gayfeather. So pretty!


    September 14, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    • If you’re going to have a song running around in your head, this is a great one.

      Glad to hear you’re having a good Liatris year at Illinois Beach. Not every flowering stalk of Liatris mucronata looks as pretty as this one in today’s picture. They vary a good deal, so naturally I seek out the prettiest ones I can find. Getting in close to neutralize the background and let the flowers be the stars of the picture also helps.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2015 at 2:52 PM

  4. Beautiful liatris, Steve. I had these when I lived back east, but have not tried them here in Oregon. I’m not sure if it is one of those gophers eat with impunity.

    Lavinia Ross

    September 14, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    • Some 22 species (plus varieties) of Liatris are native in the United States, so I suspect there is at least one in your part of Oregon. People at local native plant nurseries would know, and they might be able to tell you about gopher resistance as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2015 at 2:57 PM

  5. How beautiful is that? Colour, shapes, everything – utterly perfect! Thank you for photographing and sharing.


    September 14, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    • You’re welcome. As fall approaches I always look forward to this species. It’s one whose flowers grow in “a certain line,” so to speak, and perhaps that’s one reason you’re partial to them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  6. Espectacular, maravillosa!

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    September 14, 2015 at 3:44 PM

  7. Fabulosa flor y photo. Wish I had been at the presentation. Thanks for sharing picture and thoughts!

    Kristi Kerr Leonard

    September 14, 2015 at 11:08 PM

  8. Our Liatris are far past their use by date making your image a welcome reminder of their beauty.

    Steve Gingold

    September 15, 2015 at 2:53 AM

    • This picture is from September 4, but I saw a few flowering Liatris spikes yesterday morning. In fact just before seeing your comment I was thinking I should go back to a good-sized colony that was beginning to flower a few weeks ago to see how it has come along.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2015 at 7:00 AM

  9. I saw these scattered about through the magnificant fields of Gaillardia I found in July. They weren’t yet blooming, of course, but there was no mistaking them. I’ve seen them developing, and I’ve seen them well past their prime, but I’ve never seen them blooming. This is a lack that needs to be remedied. I’m off to Kerrville this weekend, and I think it would be worth adding two or three hours to the trip to stay off I-l0 and explore the countryside.


    September 15, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    • There are various species of Liatris in Texas, so if the ones you’ve been observing (sans flowers) are near you, they may well be Liatris punctata. I just found out that Liatris mucronata has at times been classified as Liatris punctata var. mucronata. By whatever name, the flowers are great and you deserve to see some soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2015 at 5:42 PM

  10. You’re welcome again, more beautiful images posting.

    Md Aslam

    September 20, 2015 at 6:43 AM

  11. Still surprises me that these are such relatively tough plants. We had tons of them in the cool and sometimes soggy backyard in Tacoma, and yet they’re hardy enough to hang out in Texas, too. Not what I’d guess from just looking at their delicate stars.


    September 21, 2015 at 4:54 PM

    • Remember, too, that there are many species of Liatris, so the ones that grow here presumably do better at withstanding heat and drought, while the ones in the Northwest presumably tolerate damp soil and lowered sunlight. If each were transplanted to the other’s realm, the result might well be double death.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      • True. The ‘spicata’ group would likely faint at the very sight of Texas temps. 😀


        September 22, 2015 at 2:25 PM

        • Although I’m the one who brought up the way a species is adapted to local conditions, I’ve sometimes been surprised to find that a species that grows down here also grows natively in Canada or some place with frigid temperatures in the United States. The common sunflower is probably the most familiar example. Some species are clearly more adaptable than others.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 22, 2015 at 3:02 PM

  12. […] recently saw a closeup of a flowering blazing-star stalk, Liatris mucronata, so to balance that here’s a broader view from September 15th showing what […]

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