Binomial Key Description
1. seed hairs feathery (pappus plumose), florets 10-60 per head, long stalked, bracts pointed and turned out ... Liatris squarrosa

seed hairs bristly (pappus barbellate), sessile or stalked, bracts pointed or rounded ... 2.

2. middle leaf protecting underside of the receptacle (middle involucral bracts), green, leathery texture (coriaceous) throughout with continuous unbroken (entire) borders, long stalked, bracts rounded or slightly pointed ... Liatris scariosa (Synonym: Liatris borealis)

middle leaf protecting underside of the receptacle (middle involucral bracts), with broad uneven irregular margin (lacerate), thin texture and not green (scarious) borders, sessile or stalked, bracts pointed or rounded ... 3.

3. head broadly swollen tuber like and bell shaped structure (turbinate-campanulate) to hemispheric, 18-100 florets, stalked, bracts rounded ... 4.

head cylindric to narrow tuber like and bell shaped structure (turbinate-campanulate), 4-18 flowers, sessile, bracts pointed ... 5.

4. head uniform in size, with 16-35 florets, flat-topped inflorescence (corymb) hairy toward base within, short stalked ... Liatris aspera

head not uniform, with 30-100 florets, flat-topped inflorescence (corymb) lacking hairs within (glabrous), long stalked ... Liatris ligulistylis

5. small leaf protecting underside of the receptacle (involucral bracts) narrows to a tapered point (broadly rounded to merely acute) ... Liatris spicata

small leaf protecting underside of the receptacle (involucral bracts) narrows to a tapered point (acuminate), tips projecting at right angles (squarrose) ... Liatris pycnostachya


Key - Hairs along edge of mid bracts Liatris scariosa
bracts with narrow scarious (non-green) margins
Key - Glabrous along edge of mid bracts Liatris ligulistylis
bracts with conspicuous scarious (non-green) margins


Key - Florets sessile, bracts flat Liatris spicata
glabrous (hairless) or nearly so
Key - Florets sessile, bracts bent at right angle Liatris pycnostachya
hirsute (hairy) throughout


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