Gayfeather Liatris spicata
(Blazing Star) Shooting bolt upright out of the garden bed, gayfeather is a bold statement in the mixed border. The strong spikes of rosy-purple flowers are the most prominent feature of the plant, rising 75-90 cm (29-35 inches) in a feathery burst of colour. Blooming in the difficult-to-fill midsummer, the plants prefer moisture but tolerate poor soil. They are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, and are good cut flowers. Performing well in meadow gardens as well as cottage garden settings, it prefers full sun and is unappealing to deer. Tuberous roots make a soothing tea valuable in kidney diseases or as a gargle for sore throats. Gayfeather is easily grown from seed, blooming in the second year.
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