Liatris Spicata

Marsh Blazing star, Gayfeather, Button Snake Root


Liatris spicata (Marsh Blazing star, Gayfeather, button snake root) is a member of the Asteraceae family1. A purple, linear, scaly looking flower tops a stem that grows between 2-6 feet3.  Spike shaped leaves climb the stem and are smallest in size at the top of the stem, but can grow to 12 inches long at the base of the stem3. Well-developed roots grow to a depth of at least 14 inches1. The flower also attracts birds and butterflies3.

Liatris spicata is a perennial herb that blooms in the late summer1. It grows best in average, well-drained soils in full sun3. It requires a soil pH between 5.6 and 7.51. It is native to the eastern half of the United States1.


Fun Fact

Native Americans first utilized the plant as a decoction for backache, limb pains, as a diuretic, expectorant, and dropsy, as well as heart medicine3



The leaves and root are used today to treat sore throats, gonorrhoea, and diseases of the kidney. The leaves and root are also used for pot-pouri, in insect repellant, have antibacterial and antidiuretic properties, and possibly anti-cancer properties, caused mainly by Coumarin5,6


Mrs. M. Grieve suggests a 2 oz decoction taken 3-4 times daily6.

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions

Caution is suggested when ingesting blazing star as one major component of Liatris spicata is Coumarin (1,2-benzopyrone, C9H6O2)7. Coumarin has an anti-clotting effect on the blood and ingestion may prevent clotting when there is a cut5

References Cited

1. Liatris spicata l. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

2. (2000). PDR for herbal medicines. (p. 755). Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company. Retrieved from

3. Liatris spicata. (n.d.). Retrieved from

4. Moerman, D. (2009). Native American medicinal plants: An ethnobotanical dictionary. (p. 272). Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.

5. Liatris spicata. Retrieved from spicata

6. Grieve, M. (n.d.). Snakeroot, button. Retrieved from

7. Coumarin. (n.d.). Retrieved from

8. Coumarins. (2000). Retrieved from