Liatris squarrulosa Michaux. Phen: Aug-Oct (-Nov). Hab: Diabase barrens, other glades and barrens, prairies, longleaf pine sandhills, open woodlands. Dist: Nc. NC, s. WV, OH, IN, IL, MO, and OK south to sw. GA, Panhandle FL, AL, MS, LA, and e. TX.
ID notes: L. squarrulosa has barbellate bristles, spreading to distally reflexed (although sometimes erect) phyllaries in 4-5 unequal series, 11-26 florets per head, and heads smaller. This differs from L. squarrosa, which has plumose bristles, phyllaries usually erect (though sometimes spreading-reflexed on distal third) in 5-7 equal-subequal series, 23-45 florets per head, and heads larger. L. cylindracea has plumose bristles, phyllaries usually erect (though sometimes spreading-reflexed on distal third) in 5-7 strongly unequal series, 10-35 florets per head, and heads somewhat intermediate in size.
Origin/Endemic status: Native
Taxonomy Comments: Highly variable in morphology and habitats and badly in need of additional study to determine if multiple taxa should be recognized, as seems likely. In the Atlantic Coastal States, there is a striking difference between plants of the fall-line Sandhills and rest of the Coastal Plain (small plants, strict inflorescences, narrow leaves < 2 cm long below the inflorescence, small heads with few flowers) vs. plants of diabase barrens (robust plants, inflorescences often branched, larger leaves, large heads with many flowers).
Synonymy: = C, Fl7, FNA21, Il, K1, K3, K4, SE1, Tn, Tx, Va, W, WH3; > Lacinaria earlei Greene; > Laciniaria ruthii Alexander – S; > Laciniaria shortii Alexander – S; > Laciniaria tracyi Alexander – S; > Liatris earlei (Greene) K.Schum. – F, RAB, Gaiser (1946), Godfrey (1948); > Liatris ruthii Alexander; > Liatris scabra (Greene) K.Schum. – F, G, Il; > Liatris scariosa (L.) Willd. var. squarrulosa – Gaiser (1946), Godfrey (1948); > Liatris squarrulosa Michx. – G