Plant ID forum: Native Liatris ID???

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Name: Lila
North Texas (Zone 7b)
Butterflies Region: Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant and/or Seed Trader Hummingbirder Birds
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imabirdnut
Aug 28, 2012 8:50 AM CST
There is a native Liatris that grows locally & is blooming now in Parker County. There are 2 listed in my county but I'm needing to know which one I have???
Liatris aestivalis or Liatris mucronata
Both are listed in my county but I'm not sure which one it is??? Can you help??? Confused
Thumb of 2012-08-28/imabirdnut/b394a2
Take care,
Lila aka 'imabirdnut'
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
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KentPfeiffer
Aug 28, 2012 9:19 AM CST

Moderator

The two species are very similar in appearance. L. aestivalis typically blooms in June/July, while L. punctata var. mucronata (the current name for Liatris mucronata) usually blooms in September. Liatris punctata var. mucronata is certainly the more common species and it wouldn't be unusual for it to be blooming already, especially given the weather this year.

Did you happen to touch the plants? Liatris glandulosa is another possibility. It typically blooms in August and looks very similar to the other two species. The easiest way to identify L. glandulosa is that the plants feel sticky to the touch.
[Last edited by KentPfeiffer - Aug 28, 2012 9:21 AM (+)]
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Aug 28, 2012 9:32 AM CST
From what I can tell you won't get a positive ID from that photo. They are so much alike you will have to make close examination of the blooms and maybe the corms. Liatris mucronata is a synonym for Liatris punctata. You will have to wade through a lot of technical terms, but here is a key for
Liatris.
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=1...
What county are you in Lila?
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


[Last edited by Horntoad - Aug 28, 2012 9:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Lila
North Texas (Zone 7b)
Butterflies Region: Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant and/or Seed Trader Hummingbirder Birds
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imabirdnut
Aug 28, 2012 1:23 PM CST
Thanks Kent & Horntoad...I will try to get a better picture...that was taken with my 3GS iPhone...not the best picture!
Also, as I mentioned...I'm in Parker County...just west of Fort Worth.
I was thinking it was L.punctata but it was confusing on the http://www.wildflower.org/ site...that is where I get a lot of IDs for the natives around here. I then looked up my county on the USDA site & it doesn't show that it is found here. I wonder if it is like the BAMONA site where my county is lacking in reports???

Thumb of 2012-08-28/imabirdnut/fa77fa
Take care,
Lila aka 'imabirdnut'
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Aug 28, 2012 2:22 PM CST
Bonap shows L. punctata, L. aestivalis and L squarrosa in Parker County. Txflora shows L. aestivalis and L. mucronata ( which is L. punctata) in Parker County. But I always take county level maps "with a grain of salt". I have found several species of plant in my county that weren't supposed to grow here. If I see a plant that is not supposed to grow in my county but does grow in a neighboring county, I will assume that it might be here also. Especially if my county is surrounded by counties that have it.

http://www.bonap.org/BONAPmaps2010/Liatris.html
http://txflora.org
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Aug 28, 2012 3:41 PM CST

Moderator

The USDA county level maps can give a good general impression of the range of a plant, but they are far from comprehensive so it doesn't pay to take them too literally. Your plant is clearly either Liatris punctata var. mucronata (Liatris mucronata), Liatris aestivalis, or maybe Liatris glandulosa.

Liatris aestivalis and Liatris glandulosa were just recently, within the last decade or so, described as separate species from Liatris punctata. So, as you might imagine, they aren't very easy to tell apart. Liatris glandulosa can be distinguished from the other two by the glandular hairs on its stems which makes the plant feel sticky to the touch. The key that Jay linked to indicates that you have to have to look at the phyllaries (tiny leaf-like bracts at the base of each flower head) to distinguish Liatris punctata var. mucronata from Liatris aestivalis.

Your last picture shows the phyllaries quite well (the little spiky looking things where the flowers will develop), but I can't see them clearly enough to tell which species it might be. I don't see any hairs on the plant's stems, so it's probably not Liatris glandulosa, but again, I can't see it quite clearly enough to be certain.

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