Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Liatris punctata


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1993. Liatris punctata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : LIAPUN SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : LIPU LIPUM LIPUN COMMON NAMES : blazing star dotted gayfeather gayfeather dotted blazingstar dotted button snakeroot liatris TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of blazing star is Liatris punctata Hook [3,16,20]. It is in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). Recognized varieties are as follows: L. p. var. punctata L. p. var. mexicana Gaiser [43] L. p. var. nebraskana Gaiser [16,33,43] Blazing star produces natural hybrids with gayfeather (L. mucronata) [31]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Blazing star occurs from Alberta south to New Mexico and Mexico, east to Manitoba and Michigan, and south to Arkansas [20,40]. Liatris punctata var. punctata is generally more western; L. p. var. nebraskana is more eastern; L. p. var. mexicana is found in Oklahoma and Texas [19,43]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES29 Sagebrush FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES38 Plains grasslands STATES : AR CO IL IA KS MI MN MO MT NE NM ND OK SD TX WI WY AB MB SK MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K024 Juniper steppe woodland K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K038 Great Basin sagebrush K055 Sagebrush steppe K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K081 Oak savanna K098 Northern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : The following classification lists blazing star as a differential species (i.e., limited to one habitat type out of several in the area) in mixed-grass blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) communities on excessively drained hilltops and slopes: Classification of Native Vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North Dakota [32]. Associates of blazing star vary with location, since this species has a wide ecological amplitude and it occurs in a variety of prairie ecosystems. Associates of blazing star in tallgrass prairie of central Oklahoma are heath aster (Aster ericoides), Scribner's panic grass (Panicum scribnerianum), tick-trefoil (Desmodium sessilifolium), and oldfield goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) [1]. Associates of blazing star in south-central South Dakota plains grasslands include threadleaf sedge (Carex filifolia), tumble grass (Schedonnardus paniculatus), fringed sagebrush (Artemisia frigida), leadplant (Amorpha canescens), pale echinacea (Echinacea pallida), scarlet gaura (Gaura coccinea), and rush skeletonplant (Lygodesmia juncea) [41]. Associates of blazing star in the hardlands of northeastern and east-central Colorado include sixweeks fescue (Festuca octoflora), bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), slender wirelettuce (Stephanomeria tenuifolia), wooly loco (Astragalus mollissimus), and plains pricklypear (Opuntia polyacantha) [29]. Associates of blazing star on sandy soil in northeastern Colorado include sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), prairie sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia), western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya), purple prairieclover (Petalostemon purpureum), Nuttall evolvulus (Evolvulus nuttallianus), Texas croton (Croton texensis), shrubby evening primrose (Calylophus serrulata), and scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) [29]


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Domestic livestock, particularly sheep, graze blazing star, especially when plants are young [40]. Rocky Mountain elk in Montana also graze blazing star. Blazing star was given the lowest rating for forage value in winter, and the highest rating for fall. It is not known to be eaten in spring and summer [28]. White-tailed deer fed on Liatris species on a reserve in southeastern Michigan. Liatris species comprised 0.5 to 2 percent of the diet of pronghorns in New Mexico [31]. Young blazing star plants are eaten by rodents [31]. Blazing star is an important nectar source for Lepidoptera. The population distribution of the endangered skipper butterfly (Hesperus leonardus montana) near Deckers, Colorado corresponds almost exactly with blazing star occurrence [30]. PALATABILITY : Goetz [18] stated that blazing star has little value as a forage species because of its coarse leaves. Blazing star palatability for livestock in several western states is as follows [12]: CO MT ND WY Cattle poor poor fair fair Sheep poor fair fair fair Horses poor poor fair fair. Rodents prefer buds, seedlings, new leaf growth, and starchy material from the centers of the tuberous roots. Seeds are eaten, but are not preferred [31]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Blazing star energy value for livestock is fair; protein value is poor [12]. The food value of blazing star is as follows [12]: MT ND WY Elk poor ---- good Mule deer poor fair fair White-tailed deer ---- poor fair Pronghorn poor poor fair Upland game birds ---- ---- poor Waterfowl ---- ---- poor Small nongame birds ---- ---- poor Small mammals ---- ---- fair. Toxic alkaloids occur in blazing star, but their low concentrations are unlikely to cause acute toxicity, particularly because most hay contains relatively little blazing star [30]. COVER VALUE : The cover value of blazing star is as follows [12]: ND WY Elk ---- poor Mule deer poor poor White-tailed deer poor poor Pronghorn poor ---- Upland game birds poor ---- Waterfowl poor ---- Small nongame birds poor ---- Small mammals poor ----. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Blazing star seeds were collected in the Badlands of western North Dakota, and in 1977 and 1978 were grown on raw coal spoil material to evaluate their use in minespoil reclamation. Blazing star had exceptionally good seedling emergence and subsequent vigorous growth from direct seeding. Greenhouse plants transplanted well. They produced more vigorous first-year plants, which had a greater chance of survival than those from direct seeding [5,6]. Blazing star is being developed and released for prairie rehabilitation [23]. Shatter takes place shortly after seeds ripen and proceeds fairly rapidly. Seeds should be therefore be collected soon after ripening. They are planted in the fall immediately after harvest or the following spring when soils are warm (68 degrees Fahrenheit [20 deg C]) [14]. Plants show good vigor [23]. On a severely eroded, steep, sandy, south-facing slope in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, prairie hay mulch held down by jute mesh was very successful in promoting germination and establishment of praririe plants including blazing star [11]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Blazing star is a common floral decoration [24]. Blazing star contains sesquiterpene lactones and alkaloids which have been extracted for use in biological tests [30]. Some components have cytotoxic effects [22]. The carrot-flavored root of blazing star was used by American Indians for food [24]. The plants of this genus were consumed in New England as a treatment for gonorrhea [40]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Rangeland: Blazing star is drought resistant and well adapted to a variety of upland prairies [24]. Its tolerance of drought is due to its deep roots. It can develop normally and produce seed when there is no moisture in the upper layers of soil [10]. During periods of extended drought, blazing star decreases in abundance and height [31]. During the drought of 1931-1937 blazing star completely disappeared from many sites in eastern Colorado [29]. Blazing star is preferred by grazing animals. It classified as a decreaser, soon disappearing under continuous overgrazing [24,46]. Herbicides: Blazing star was seeded with other native forbs and grasses at two lowland sites in eastern Nebraska in May, 1975. Herbicides in varying amounts were applied at the time of seeding to provide an assessment of their use in establishing a diverse stand of prairie grasses and forbs. Blazing star did not appear in any treatment plots in which herbicides were used [8]. Other: In Colorado, blazing star is a major host for the parasitic plant wholeleaf Indian paintbrush (Castilleja integra) [30].


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Blazing star is a native, warm-season, perennial forb [40]. It has one to several stems 4 to 32 inches (0.1-0.8 m) tall [20]. The inflorescence is a dense spike up to 12 inches (30 cm) long [40]. The fruit is an achene. The pappus is persistent [3]. The stems arise from an erect or weakly spreading thick, short rootstock elongated into a thickened taproot [20]. The taproot is 4.25 to 16.4 feet (1.3-5 m) deep, with laterals at various levels [3]. Blazing star develops rhizomes [31]. Blazing star develops slowly and is very long lived. Ring counts in root crowns showed plant ages greater than 35 years [45]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Blazing star reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from rhizomes and sexually by wind-disseminated seeds [31] which have a very long plumose pappus [14]. The seeds have two periods of maximum germination: in the spring after fall maturation, and during the following fall [7]. Blazing star germinates under a wide range of conditions, but optimal conditions for germination may vary geographically. Germination response from seed in three areas follows. Blazing star seed fill was about 40 percent in southeastern Montana in 1976 and 1977. Germination was optimal for new seed at 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30 deg C). For seed 10 months old germination was best at 68/41 degrees Fahrenheit (20/5 deg C) alternating temperatures. Stratification of less than 1 month duration was insufficient. Germination during stratification was quite high, and higher with new seed than old. Low temperature (39 degrees Fahrenheit [4 deg C]) storage had no effect on germination. Light appeared to promote germination at lower (50 degree Fahrenheit [10 deg C]) temperatures [14]. Blazing star seed collected in south-central South Dakota was tested for germination. Of the seeds collected, 26.5 percent had mature embryos, and these were maintained in darkness at a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 deg C) for 30 days. Forty-seven percent of the seeds germinated within 8 to 22 days, requiring neither moist-cold nor scarification treatments [38]. Blazing star seeds from western North Dakota were stored under three different conditions, with storage beginning December 1, 1977. There was no significant difference in germination rate due to storage conditions of dry cold, wet cold, or room temperature. Seeds were tested for germination rate each month from January through May, 1978. Blazing star seeds had the highest germination rate in April, averaging about 71 percent over all storage conditions [5,6]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Blazing star inhabits dry, open, upland sites, especially in sandy soil [20]. It is found on dry prairie [3], dry plains, and hills [40]. Blazing star is also found on calcareous soils on the Edwards Plateau and in the Guadelupe Mountains of Texas [25]. Blazing star growth is poor on dense clay, poor to fair on clay, fair to good on gravel, sand, and clay loam, and good on sandy loam and loam. Growth is poor on acidic and saline soils. Optimum soil depth is 20 inches (50 cm) or more. Blazing star makes good growth on gentle and moderate slopes and fair growth on steep slopes [12]. Blazing star occurs at the following elevations: Elevation (feet) Elevation (m) CO 3,500-8,000 1,067-2,438 [21] MT 2,800-6,400 853-1,951 [12] SD 3,600-5,000 1,097-1,524 [37] WY 3,700-7,400 1,128-2,255 [12]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Blazing star is a member of the mature prairie community [35] and does not tolerate deep litter or shading [31]. It often increases after disturbance [35]. Blazing star was found to be a major forb species in scattered ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in mixed-prairie in northwestern Nebraska. It was reduced in importance where the trees were more closely spaced, and was not present where trees were dense [42] Blazing star occurs in western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii)-blue grama communities in south-central South Dakota on silt loam soils disturbed by grazing and drought [41]. Blazing star occurred on some badger-disturbed sites in tallgrass prairie of northwestern Iowa. Seedlings were present in the spring of the first growing season following disturbance. During the second growing season blazing star began to reproduce vegetatively. On reaching maturity, 94.1 percent of blazing star plants on disturbed sites flowered [35]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Blazing star seeds generally germinate in the spring, and to a lesser extent in the fall. The seedling grows only a few inches the first year and remains in the rosette stage [6,7]. During this time it develops a taproot up to 35 inches (89 cm) deep and accumulates some reserve food. In later years it develops extensive taproots [45]. After the first year blazing star begins growth in spring and attains its mature height in late summer [18]. Blazing star flowering times are: Begin Peak End Flowering Flowering Flowering CO August August September [12] IL August ---- October [33] KS August September October [23] MT July August September [12] ND July August September [9] WY July August September [12] Great Plains July ---- October [20]. In central North Dakota blazing star populations bloom an average of 38 days each year [9]. In western North Dakota blazing star attains its mature height by mid-August [18].


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Blazing star has good fire tolerance due to reproduction by rhizomes [31]. It produces numerous, small, wind-dispersed seeds [3] which can establish on burned sites. Blazing star thrives in the open, sunny conditions created by fire [31]. No information was available on seed tolerance to heat, or length of seed viability in the seedbank. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community) Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Blazing star is probably top-killed by fire. Because of their persistent rhizomes, Liatris species are not usually killed by fast fire. Fire promotes seedling establishment by removing deep litter. Seedlings emerge earlier because of greater light and heat at the soil surface [31]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Blazing star is listed as tolerant of fire in the tallgrass prairie of the Central Great Plains, where it often increases following fire [47]. Blazing star was subjected to prescribed fire in northwestern Minnesota in the spring of 1972. Flowering was stimulated on a dry-mesic south-facing slope in undisturbed prairie. Flowering decreased on a wet-mesic level site in severely disturbed prairie. The primary factor responsible for increased flowering appeared to be removal of litter, which allowed for higher temperatures and increased light intensities near the soil surface. This resulted in increased vegetative growth in spring and increased flowering in summer. Litter removal by fire varied with site [34]. A lightning fire with 48-mile per hour (77-km/hr) winds burned in the Nebraska National Forest in the Sand Hills in May, 1965. By fall, 1965, blazing star had increased in dry valley sites and choppy sand sites. Its presence on rolling sandy sites was unchanged [46]. Fire was prescribed at the Sun River Wildlife Management Area in west-central Montana on October 17, 1983, and April 15, 1984. Blazing star had greater biomass after spring fires than fall fires. It may not have been dormant during the fall fires, and therefore was susceptible to damage. There was no difference in blazing star response between backfires and headfires within a season [26]. An area in the Badlands of western North Dakota burned on August 14, 1954. Blazing star frequency in August, 1958, was the same on both burned and unburned areas [13]. Other sites burned in a severe wildfire on May 29, 1958. Blazing star was present in August, 1958, at 25 percent frequency on unburned areas, but had decreasedd to 17 percent frequency on burned areas [2]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Postfire soil moisture is a major factor in determining the effect of fire on blazing star. Drought is common in the mixed-grass prairie and can seriously set back recovery after a fire. In mesic areas, or in dry areas where fires are followed by a moist summer, fire can be beneficial [2].


SPECIES: Liatris punctata
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Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 5. Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Whitman, Warren C. 1982. Perennial forbs for wildlife habitat restoration on mined lands in the northern Great Plains. In: Western proceedings, 62nd annual conference of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; 1982 July 19-22; Las Vegas, Nevada. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: 257-271. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. [2932] 6. Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Whitman, Warren C. 1989. Promising native forbs for seeding on mine spoils. In: Walker, D. G.; Powter, C. B.; Pole, M. W., compilers. Reclamation, a global perspective: Proceedings of the conference; 1989 August 27-31; Calgary, AB. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council: 255-262. [14354] 7. 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D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed. Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p. [6851] 22. Herz, Werner; Sharma, Ram P. 1975. New germacranolides form Liatris species. Phytochemistry. 14: 1561-1567. [22083] 23. Jacobson, Erling T. 1975. The evaluation, selection and increase of prairie wildflowers for conservation beautification. In: Wali, Mohan K., ed. Prairie: a multiple view. Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota Press: 395-404. [4437] 24. Johnson, James R.; Nichols, James T. 1970. Plants of South Dakota grasslands: A photographic study. Bull. 566. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 163 p. [18501] 25. Johnston, Marshall C. 1979. The Guadalupe Mountains--a chink in the mosaic of the Chihuahuan Desert?. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 45-49. [16016] 26. Jourdonnais, Craig S.; Bedunah, Donald J. 1990. Prescribed fire and cattle grazing on an elk winter range in Montana. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 18(3): 232-240. [14113] 27. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 28. Kufeld, Roland C. 1973. Foods eaten by the Rocky Mountain elk. Journal of Range Management. 26(2): 106-113. [1385] 29. McGinnies, William J.; Shantz, Homer L.; McGinnies, William G. 1991. Changes in vegetation and land use in eastern Colorado: A photographic study, 1904-1986. ARS-85. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 165 p. [18826] 30. Mead, Elliott W.; Looker, Michael; Gardner, Dale R.; Stermitz, Frank R. 1992. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids of Liatris punctata and its root parasite, Castilleja integra. Phytochemistry. 31(9): 3255-3257. [22082] 31. Menhusen, Bernadette R. 1973. Ecology of the prairie species of the genus Liatris. In: Hulbert, Lloyd C., ed. Third Midwest prairie conference proceedings; 1972 September 22-23; Manhattan, KS. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, Division of Biology: 60-62. [3329] 32. Meyer, Marvis I. 1985. Classification of native vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 17(3): 167-175. [5432] 33. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. (Revised edition). Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383] 34. Pemble, R. H.; Van Amburg, G. L.; Mattson, Lyle. 1981. Intraspecific variation in flowering activity following a spring burn on a northwestern Minnesota prairie. In: Stuckey, Ronald L.; Reese, Karen J., eds. The prairie peninsula--in the "shadow" of Transeau: Proceedings, 6th North American prairie conference; 1978 August 12-17; Columbus, OH. Ohio Biological Survey: Biological Notes No. 15. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, College of Biological Sciences: 235-240. [3435] 35. Platt, William J. 1975. The colonization and formation of equilibrium plant species associations on badger disturbances in a tall-grass prairie. Ecological Monographs. 45: 285-305. [6903] 36. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 37. Schripsema, Janet R. 1978. Ecological changes on pine-grassland burned in spring, late spring and winter. Rapid City, SD: South Dakota State University. 99 p. Thesis. [2092] 38. Sorensen, J. T.; Holden, D. J. 1974. Germination of native prairie forb seeds. Journal of Range Management. 27(2): 123-126. [15617] 39. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 40. Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 465 p. [2270] 41. Tolstead, W. L. 1941. Plant communities and secondary succession in south-central South Dakota. Ecology. 22(3): 322-328. [5887] 42. Tolstead, W. L. 1947. Woodlands in northwestern Nebraska. Ecology. 28(2): 180-188. [18407] 43. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 44. Vance, F. R.; Jowsey, J. R.; McLean, J. S. 1984. Wildflowers of the Northern Great Plains. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 336 p. [22199] 45. Weaver, J. E. 1968. Prairie plants and their environment: A fifty-year study in the Midwest. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 276 p. [17548] 46. Wolfe, Carl W. 1973. Effects of fire on a sandhills grassland environment. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. Number 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 241-255. [8469] 47. Wright, Henry A.; Thompson, Rita. 1978. Fire effects. In: Fire management: Prairie plant communities: Proceedings of a symposium and workshop; 1978 April 25-28; Jamestown, ND. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: V-1 to V-12. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. [3249]

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