Barrelhead Blazing Star (Liatris cylindracea)

Image of Barrelhead Blazing Star plant specimen.
Pollinator-friendly species dwindling

A native herbaceous plant, the Barrelhead Blazing Star grows tall, with purple tubular blossoms that attract long-tongued bees and butterflies as well as rabbits and deer. Once much more abundant, this plant may still be found in northern Illinois.

This specimen was collected by Anna Pedersen Kummer in 1943 from Stony Island in Chicago, a site that no longer exists. Kummer was a botanist and served as Curator of Botany at the Chicago Academy of Sciences from the late 1930s to the mid 1940s. She earned her PhD in botany from the University of Chicago and specialized in weedy plants, publishing numerous articles on the value of plains weeds in the prairie ecosystem.