Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garber's Blazing Star - Liatris garberi

Garber's blazing star (Liatris garberi) is restricted nationally to the southern half of the Florida peninsula, though it also occurs in the Bahamas. This is a species of moist open habitats and it is most common in the understory of wet flatwoods.

Garber's blazing star shares many of the characteristics of the genus. It overwinters underground and re-emerges in the spring as a basal rosette of grasslike leaves. In the early summer, it begins to send its flower stalk upward. Blooming occurs in late August and early September on flower stalks that rarely stand taller than 2 feet. The stems are slightly "hairy" and the flower buds are held away from the main stem by short stalks. Each bud contains less than 10 rich lavender flowers.

What distinguishes Garber's blazing star from others is its early blooming time, its adaptation to moist soils, and its finger-like corm. While other blazing stars have rounded corms that look like a typical bulb, Garber's is decidedly finger-like with at least three "fingers"; sometimes more.

Garber's blazing star is well-behaved in the garden. Because of its shorter stature, it is not prone to falling over like many of the taller species. Its small size allows it to fit nearly anywhere, but it is best used near the front of the planting bed or near walking trails so it can be easily admired.

Hawthorn Hill has recently added this species to its collection of Florida blazing stars and is propagating it for the homeowner market. Let us know if you are interested.


  1. I have many florida wild flowers posted picasa and flicker. This flower is abundant crooms road entrance to withalacoochee river trail along the river starting at route 50/croom road not the paved portion. Of course not blooming now. If you have a place to post or send my photos?

  2. So does best in shade with moist soil (understory to wet flatwoods), but will it tolerate full sun?

  3. Annie et al.-

    This blazing star, like all that I am familiar with, does best when given good sunlight. The flatwoods settings where it is abundant have widely spaced pines and it occurs where the palmettos are not dense. It is also very common in places such as Kissimmee Prairie PReserve State Park where the understory receives full sun.
    And, to answer Donna's comment above - many blazing stars look sort of alike. Garber's does not occur in the Croom area. I suspect what is growing there is either graceful blazing star (L. gracilis) or scrub blazing star (L. tenuifolia).

  4. are you telling about the biome

  5. In terms of "biome", Garber's blazing star is pretty common in south Florida in a variety of habitat types. I have seen it in south Florida pine flatwoods in areas where the plamettos are not too dense, in wet savannas around Fakahatchee Swamp and in the open prairie habitat throughout Kissimmee Prairie State Preserve Park. It is adaptable and not confined to just one biome. What it does need is some open space. It seems tolerant of moisture variations...

  6. You have a wonderful site but i would have liked to know more about these beautiful plants.In a writers point of view this would have been not as descriptive as it said it would have been.It would need more details on how it adapts.How did it adapt phisically and internally? :)

  7. Thanks for reading my blog and for your input. I will take it into consideration as I write more entries, but the purpose of this blog is as I state up front - to describe where it grows, provide information on how you might tell it apart from its relatives and provide some information related to using it in a landscape. I try to keep the information simple and to the point, but you make valid points that I will keep in mind.


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