Liatris novae-angliae (Lunnell) Shinners
Northern Blazing Star
Habitat: Dry grasslands, barrens, and woods openings. [Dry barrens (partly forested, upland)]
Range: Southern Maine to eastern New York, south to New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
Aids to Identification: A showy purple-flowered perennial growing from a bulb with a basal rosette of lanceolate leaves 0.5-3 cm broad. The numerous, stalked, thistle-like flowers form a loose spike above the linear stem leaves.
Ecological characteristics: L. scariosa is most often associated with sand barrens. Most of its stations in Maine are on sandy soil, and the largest Maine population is thriving on a grassland barren which is periodically burned.
Phenology: Flowers July - September.
Synonyms: Represented in Maine and New England by variety novae-angliae. Synonyms include Lacinaria scariosa (L.) Hill var. novae-angliae Lunell; Liatris borealis, auct. non Nutt. ex J. McNab; Liatris scariosa (L.) Willd. var. novae-angliae (Lunell) Gandhi, S.M. Young, & P. Somers.
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 7 town(s) in the following county(ies): York.
Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range, habitat limited. Research indicates that high levels of seed predation by a small moth may be a factor in declining populations rangewide.
Conservation considerations: Controlled fire or prescribed burns may be an important management tool for northern blazing star. Fires control seed predator abundances and encourage recruitment of juvenile plants into resident populations.