Liatris spicata, the dense blazing star or prairie gay feather, is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the sunflower and daisy family Asteraceae. It is native to eastern North America where it grows in moist prairies and sedge meadows.
The plants have tall spikes of purple flowers resembling bottle brushes or feathers that grow 1–5 ft (0.30–1.52 m) tall. The species grows in hardiness zones 3 – 8, stretching from the Midwest to the East Coast, eastern and western Canada.
Common varieties include ‘Alba’ and ‘Floristan White’ which are white-flowering cultivars on 18 in (46 cm) tall spikes, ‘Callilepsis’ with long stems good for cut flowers, ‘Floristan Violett’ with a strong stem and thick, violet flower spikes preferred by florists, and ‘Kobold’ which stays small in size with deep purple flowers.
Liatris spicata var. resinosa is found in the southern part of the species’s natural range. The variable plants have only 5 or 6 flowers per head and the heads are more widely spaced on the stems; these differences are more pronounced when the plants are found in drier and coastal habitats.