The Medicinal Plant Garden

of Birmingham-Southern College

  • Liatris spicata
  • Liatris spicata

Common Name

Dense Blazing Star, Dense gayfeather, Marsh blazing star (Adleman and Schwartz, 2011).

Related Species

L. aspera, L. cylindracea

Geographic Distribution and Habitat

According to the USDA, Blazing Star is present in the eastern-central region of North America. It prefers a sunny environment with a medium amount of water. It also requires acidic soil.


L. spicata usually has a single unbranched stem up to 5.5 feet in height with many long, smooth, narrow leaves decreasing in length towards the top of the stem. There are tightly clumped purple flowers at the top of the plant (Wildflower Database; Sorrie, 2011).

Portion of the Plant Used

The leaves, the roots, and the stems are used.(Moerman, 1998; Bown, 2001).

Traditional Uses

L. spicata has been used as a diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, and stimulant (Coon, 1974). Native Americans used it as a carminative, diuretic, expectorant, and stimulant, and to treat backache and colic (Moerman, 1998).


There does not appear to be any current research on possible medicinal uses of Liatris spicata. There are some older reports of antitumor (Herz and Sharma, 1976) and antileukemic (Kupchan et al., 1971; 1973) compounds from related Liatris species.