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Liatris squarrosa

(Button Snakeroot)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Button Snakeroot, Colic Root, Colicroot, Loosescale Gayfeather, Rattlesnake Master, Scaly Blazing Star, Scaly Gay-Feather, Scaly Gayfeather


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Family Compositae

The largest family of flowering plants , the Compositae (Asteraceae), comprising about 1,100 genera and more than 20,000 species and characterized by many small flowers arranged in a head looking like a single flower and subtended by an involucre of bracts. A head may consist of both ray flowers and disk flowers, as in the sunflower, of disk flowers only, as in the burdock, or of ray flowers only, as in the dandelion.

Genus Liatris

Perennials , 20-180 cm (corms globose to depressed-ovoid or napiform , sometimes elongated, becoming rhizomes, roots all or mostly adventitious). Stems erect , simple or basally branched. Leaves basal and cauline; alternate; ± petiolate (basal) or sessile (usually appressed to ascending ) ; blades usually 1-nerved, sometimes 3- or 5-nerved, mostly linear to ovate-lanceolate, margins entire, faces often gland-dotted (stipitate-glandular in L. glandulosa). Heads discoid , in corymbiform , cymiform, racemiform , or spiciform arrays. Involucres mostly campanulate to hemispheric or turbinate-cylindric, (2.5-) 3-22(-25) mm diam. Phyllaries persistent or tardily falling, 18-40 in (2-) 3-7 series, not notably nerved, ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, usually unequal (herbaceous to petaloid , margins often hyaline , often ciliate or irregularly toothed , apices often pink-white). Receptacles flat, epaleate. Florets 3-85; corollas usually lavender to dark magenta or pinkish purple, sometimes white, throats funnelform (lengths 4-6 times diams., externally glanduliferous , glabrous inside or pilose inside near filament insertions , hairs whitish, crisped ) ; styles: bases not enlarged, glabrous, branches linear-clavate (papillate ). Cypselae prismatic , 8-11-ribbed, usually hirsutulous to hirtellous-pilose (glabrous in L. oligocephala), usually gland-dotted; pappi persistent, of 12-40 coarsely barbellate to plumose bristles in 1-2 series. x = 10.

Species 37: North America, Mexico, West Indies (Bahamas).

The globose perennating structures of Liatris have been described as corms and cormoid rootstocks , the elongate ones as rhizomes and penetrating rootstocks. They are here regarded as corms and rhizomes, rather than roots with adventitious buds. New stems may be produced from various lateral points (nodes) of the corms. Some taxa show various stages of transition between globose structures and elongate structures that function like horizontal rhizomes. All other Liatrinae (except perhaps the shrubby Garberia) apparently produce rhizomes with fibrous roots , rather than a taproot .[1]

Physical Description

Species Liatris squarrosa

Plants 30-80 cm. Corms globose to slightly elongate . Stems glabrous or puberulent-villous. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 3-5-nerved, broadly linear to linear-oblanceolate, 70-220 × 2-12 mm (largest usually distal to proximalmost), gradually reduced distally, puberulent-villous or glabrous, weakly gland-dotted. Heads borne singly or (3-26) in loose , racemiform to spiciform arrays. Peduncles 0 or (spreading to ascending ) 1-8(-20+) mm. Involucres cylindro-campanulate, 12-20(-25) × 7-10 mm. Phyllaries (usually erect , sometimes spreading-reflexing on the distal 1/3) in 5-7 series, narrowly ovate-triangular and foliaceous (outer) to ovate or oblong-triangular, ± equal, glabrous or pubescent , margins without hyaline borders , stiffly to softly ciliate , apices acuminate to acute. Florets (10-) 23-45(-60) ; corolla tubes glabrous inside (lobes adaxially hispid ). Cypselae 4-5.5 mm; pappi: lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles plumose . [source]

Habit: Forb/herb

Flowers: Bloom Period: July, August, September. • Flower Color: lavender, violet


Size: 6-12" tall.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 1,253 meters (0 to 4,111 feet).[2]


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 12-15" apart.

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b. (map)


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Lacinaria squarrosa (Linnaeus) Hill • Serratula squarrosa Linnaeus


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Comment: Data Providers: IPNI, Tropicos. GCC LSID: urn

Last scrutiny: 18-Aug-09

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Liatris

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 106 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:

L. acidota (Sharp Blazing Star) · L. aestivalis (Sharp Blazing Star) · L. aspera (Button Blazing Star) · L. aspera var. aspera (Tall Blazing Star) · L. aspera var. intermedia (Tall Blazing Star) · L. aspera var. salutans (Tall Blazing Star) · L. aspera var. salutans (Lunell) Shinners (Tall Blazing Star) · L. boykinii (Boykin's Gayfeather) · L. bracteata (Bracted Blazing Star) · L. chapmanii (Chapman Gay-Feather) · L. cokeri (Coker's Gayfeather) · L. creditonensis (Gayfeather) · L. cylindracea (Cylindric Blazing Star) · L. cymosa (Branched Blazing Star) · L. densispicata (Dense-Spike Gayfeather) · L. densispicata (Bush) Gaiser var. densispicata (Bush) Gaiser (Densespike Blazing Star) · L. densispicata var. densispicata (Densespike Blazing Star) · L. densispicata var. interrupta (Densespike Blazing Star) · L. elegans (Elegant Gayfeather) · L. elegans var. carizzana (Pinkscale Blazing Star) · L. elegans var. carizzana Gaiser (Elegant Blazingstar) · L. elegans var. elegans (Pinkscale Blazing Star) · L. elegans var. flabellata (Pinkscale Blazing Star) · L. elegans var. flabellata (Small) Gaiser (Pinkscale Blazing Star) · L. fallacior (Gayfeather) · L. frostii (Frost's Gayfeather) · L. garberi (Garber's Blazing Star) · L. gholsonii (Gholson's Gayfeather) · L. gladewitzii (Gladewitz's Gayfeather) · L. glandulosa (Glandular Blazing Star) · L. gracilis (Slender Blazing Star) · L. graminifolia var. graminifolia (Grassleaf Gayfeather) · L. helleri (Heller's Blazing Star) · L. laevigata (Shortleaf Blazing Star) · L. lancifolia (Lance-Leaf Gay-Feather) · L. ligulistylis (Meadow Blazing Star) · L. microcephala (Dwarf Purple Liatris) · L. microcephala 'Alba' (Dwarf Gay Feather) · L. mucronata (Blazing Star) · L. ohlingerae (Florida Blazing Star) · L. oligocephala (Cahaba Torch) · L. pauciflora (Few-Flower Gay-Feather) · L. pilosa (Blazing Star) · L. pilosa var. elegantula (Shaggy Blazing Star) · L. pilosa var. lasia (Shaggy Blazing Star) · L. pilosa var. pilosa (Shaggy Blazing Star) · L. provincialis (Godfrey's Blazing Star) · L. punctata (Dotted Blazing Star) · L. punctata var. mexicana (Mexican Blazing Star) · L. punctata var. mexicana Gaiser (Mexican Blazing Star) · L. punctata var. nebraskana (Nebraska Blazing Star) · L. punctata var. punctata (Dotted Blazing Star) · L. pycnostachya (Cat-Tail Gayfeather) · L. pycnostachya Michx. var. lasiophylla Shinners (Cattail Gayfeather) · L. pycnostachya var. lasiophylla (Prairie Blazing Star) · L. pycnostachya var. pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star) · L. pycnostachya 'Alba' (Prairie Blazingstar) · L. pycnostachya 'Eureka' (Cattail Gayfeather) · L. regiomontis (Gayfeather) · L. ridgwayi (Ridgeway's Gayfeather) · L. scariosa (Devil's Bite) · L. scariosa var. nieuwlandii (Nieuwland's Blazing Star) · L. scariosa var. nieuwlandii (Lunell) E.G. Voss (Devil's Bite) · L. scariosa var. novae-angliae (Devil's Bite) · L. scariosa var. scariosa (Devil's Bite) · L. scariosa var. virginiana (Virginia Blazing Star) · L. scariosa var. virginiana (Lunell) Gaiser (Devil's Bite) · L. scariosa 'Gracious' (Eastern Blazing Star) · L. scariosa 'White Spires' (Eastern Blazing Star) · L. scariosa 'White Spire' (Devil's Bite) · L. secunda (Lax Gayfeather) · L. spheroidea (Spherical Blazing Star) · L. spicata (Blazing Star) · L. spicata var. racemosa (Dense Blazing Star) · L. spicata var. resinosa (Dense Blazing Star) · L. spicata var. resinosa (Nutt.) Gaiser (Dense Blazing Star) · L. spicata var. spicata (Dense Blazing Star) · L. spicata 'Alba' (Gay Feather) · L. spicata'Floristan' (Floristan White Blazing Star) · L. spicata 'Floristan Violet' (Blazing Star) · L. spicata 'Floristan White' (Floristan White Dense Blazing Star) · L. spicata 'Kobold' (Blazing Star) · L. spicata 'Snow White' (Dense Blazing Star) · L. squarrosa (Button Snakeroot) · L. squarrosa var. alabamensis (Alabama Blazing Star) · L. squarrosa var. alabamensis (Alexander) Gaiser (Alabama Blazing Star) · L. squarrosa var. compacta (Ozark Scaly Blazingstar) · L. squarrosa var. glabrata (Scaly Blazing Star) · L. squarrosa var. hirsuta (Scaly Blazing Star) · L. squarrosa var. squarrosa (Scaly Blazing Star) · L. squarrulosa (Appalachian Blazing Star) · L. steelei (Steele's Gayfeather) · L. tenuifolia (Short-Leaf Blazing Star) · L. tenuifolia var. quadriflora (Shortleaf Blazing Star) · L. tenuifolia var. tenuifolia (Shortleaf Blazing Star) · L. tenuifolia var. tenuifolia Nutt. (Shortleaf Blazing Star) · L. tenuis (Gulf Blazing Star) · L. turgida (Turgid Blazing Star) · L. virgata (Grassleaf Gayfeather) · L. weaveri (Weaver's Gayfeather)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 22, 2007:



  1. Guy L. Nesom "Liatris". in Flora of North America Vol. 21 Page 51, 460, 512, 513, 534, 539. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. Mean = 246.850 meters (809.875 feet), Standard Deviation = 217.820 based on 579 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-12-02