Liatris flower clusters are unusual because they open from the top down, instead of from the bottom up as with most plants. At the other end of the plant, Liatris species grow from corms or snake-like rhizomes.
More Information About Liatris
The genus Liatris contains around 37 species of perennial wildflowers native to North America and the West Indies. Liatris is in the daisy family (Asteraceae) although you'd never know it at first glance. The flowers are arranged in clusters called racemes, cymes, or corymbs instead of the more familar daisy or sunflower (capitulum) form and have no ray florets (just like their close cousin Eupatorium).
The common names, blazing star and gay feather, are descriptive of the flower clusters, especially of the common ornamental plant, Liatris spicata, whose flowers look like a comet tail or some sort of purple plumage. Liatris flower clusters are unusual because they open from the top down, instead of from the bottom up as with most plants.
Using Liatris in the Garden
Liatris spicata is by far, the most commonly grown species, although it is not the only one worthy of garden use. All liatris species have a loose informal habit that looks great in a meadow or a mixed border. They produce flowers that attract butterflies and also make great cut flowers.
Tips for Growing Liatris
Cultivation of this native wildflower is easy: full sun and light, well-drained soil. Other than that, liatris is not picky.