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Kevin Doyle

Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata var. nebraskana)

Life history

Species overview

Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata var. nebraskana), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found in sandy and gravelly prairies, often on roadsides. Blooming occurs early July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is late July through late August.

Synonyms: Liatris punctata var. punctata


  • Distinguishing characteristics: 4 to 6 flowers per head; corolla has smooth lobes; marginal hair on the leaves scarce.
  • Flower characteristics: Several heads in an inflorescence resembling a spike in form, sessile or nearly so, usually 4 to 6 flowers per head; corolla lobes smooth and the tube hairy toward the base within.
  • Fruit characteristics: Cypselae (achene surrounded by calyx sheath) on pappus
  • Leaf characteristics: Scarce, marginal fringe of hair, most 2 to 3 mm wide, numerous and smooth except for the margins, linear or linear-oblanceolate; lowest leaves smaller than those just above and often deciduous.


  • Blooming phenology: early July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late July through late August


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Juniperus virginiana, Quercus velutina, Dalea villosa, Talinum rugospermum, Liatris aspera, Potentilla arguta, Solidago nemoralis, S. rigida, Poa compressa.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata var. nebraskana). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Liatris punctata var. nebraskana in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2S3
Global RankG5T3T5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in sandy and gravelly prairies, often on roadsides.
  • Soils: Dry, sandy or gravelly soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Dotted Blazing Star. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Dry Prairie 3
Dry-mesic Prairie 1
Oak Barrens 1

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Dotted Blazing Star. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Maintain low canopy cover areas for savanna and barrens plant species.
  • Survey for and control invasive plants prior to conducting timber operations, as these can be spread by vehicles and often respond vigorously to increased light; see forestry BMPs for invasive species.


Dotted Blazing Star Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Dotted Blazing Star Photo.

Dotted blazing star is one of several Great Plains plants of extremely limited distribution in Wisconsin. Here it is restricted to a few prairies near the state's western extremities.

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Dotted Blazing Star Photo.

Photo © Robert H. Read.

Dotted Blazing Star Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Dotted Blazing Star Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition