"35. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow, Sp. Pl. 3: 1635. 1803 · Northern gayfeatherSerratula scariosa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl.2: 818. 1753; Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill Plants 30–150 cm. Corms subglobose. Stems puberulent (atleast distally, sometimes glabrousproximally).
Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, elliptictooblanceolate-spatulate, 120–300 × 25–50(–55) mm, bruptly, gradually, or little reduced distally, essentially glabrous, weakly, if at all, glanddotted.Heads in racemiform arrays. Peduncles usually (ascending) 10–50 mm.
Involucres campanulate to turbinate-camanulate, 11–15 × (12–)15–22(–25) mm.
Phyllaries in (3–)4–5 series, (erect or outer sometimes spreading-reflexing) oblong-obovate to broadly obovate (not bullate), unequal, glabrous or minutely puberulent, margins usually with relatively narrow, hyaline borders,apices broadly rounded. Florets 19–80; corolla tubes usually pilose inside, sometimes glabrous (Arkansas,Illinois, Missouri). Cypselae 4.5–6(–6.5) mm; pappi:lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles barbellate. Varieties 3 (3 in the flora): United States.1. Stems with 8–20(–25) leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 20–40(–50). . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35a. Liatris scariosa var. scariosa1. Stems with 20–85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 30–80.[2. Shifted to left margin.—Ed.] 2. Proximal cauline leaves mostly 25–50(–55) mm wide, hirtello-puberulent (and gland-dotted) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35b. Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii 2. Proximal cauline leaves mostly 7–20(–26) mm wide, glabrous or hirtello-puberulent (weakly, if at all, gland-dotted) . . . . . . . . . . . . 35c. Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae
35a. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow var. scariosa Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill var. borealis (Nuttall ex J. McNab) Lunell; L. scariosa var. virginiana Lunell; Liatris borealis Nuttall ex J. McNab; L. scariosa var. virginiana (Lunell) Gaiser Plants 30–80(–100) cm.
Stems with 8–20(–25) leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline elliptic- to oblanceolatespatulate, mostly 100–280 × 16–40(–45) mm, glabrous (weakly, if at all, gland-dotted). Heads usually 19–30.Florets 19–33.Flowering Aug–Sep(–Oct). Rock ledges, shale banksand barrens, limestone and sandstone outcrops, road banks, flood plains, dry woods; 600–1600 m; Md., N.C.,Pa., Tenn., Va., W.Va.Variety scariosa is an Appalachian entity that might justifiably be treated as distinct from ars. novae-anglieae and nieuwlandii at species level, as done by Shinners. It has shorter stems and smaller heads than vars. nieuwlandii and novae-angliae, and the transition in shape and size from basal to cauline leaves is more
35b. Liatris scariosa (Linnaeus) Willdenow var. nieuwlandii (Lunell) E. G. Voss, Michigan Bot. 34: 139. 1996 Lacinaria scariosa (Linnaeus) Hill var. nieuwlandii Lunell, Amer. Midl. Naturalist 2: 176. 1912 (asLaciniaria); Liatris ×nieuwlandii (Lunell) Gaiser; L. novae-angliae(Lunell) Shinners var. nieuwlandii(Lunell) Shinners
Plants 30–100 cm. Stems with 20–85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline usually narrowly lanceolate-spatulate, sometimes broader, mostly 100–500 × 25–50(–55) mm, glabrous or hirtello puberulent (gland-dotted). Heads usually 9–20. Florets 30–80.Flowering Aug–Sep(–Oct). Prairies, glades, open woods, bluff ledges, railroads, rocky limestone soils, red clays, jack pine, pine-oak, oak-juniper, oak-hickory,aspen; 100–500 m; Ark., Ill., Ind., Mich., Mo., N.Y.,Ohio, Pa., W.Va., Wis.Plants of var. nieuwlandii are usually relatively all and have relatively numerous, even-sized, denselyarranged, lanceolate cauline leaves."
Nesom, Guy L. in Flora of North America, Vol 21 Liatris p533 “Liatris Scariosa” Oxford University Press, Inc.; New York, NY, 2006