Family: Asteraceae
Common Name: Blazing Star, Gay Feather

These hardy perennials from eastern North America make attractive borders, with feathery spikes of white, lavender or purple flowers. Unusually, the flowers open from the top downwards. There are over 40 species, most of which occur in prairies or open woods.


L. aspera, to 2 m (6 ft), has glossy foliage and purple flower spikes.

L. pychnos­tachya grows 1.5 m (5 ft) high, producing violet blooms on thick spikes. It has a long flowering period, from midsummer to early autumn.

L. spicata, to 1.5 m (5 ft), is grown for its cut flowers. With erect, grass-like, mid-green leaves and crowded, fluffy spikes of purple flowers in summer or early autumn, it prefers moist condi­tions.


These plants need well-drained yet moisture-retentive soil, ideally light or sandy, and a position in full sun. Propagate by division in early spring, or from seed sown in autumn in a garden frame.


Zone 3 for most species. Zone 5 for L. aspera.

Lewisia      Libocedrus