Liatris spicata

Also known as marsh blazing star, colic root, dense button-snakeroot, devil's bit, devil's bite and gayfeather. This is a perennial plant found in meadows, on the border of marshes and in damp soil. It has a tuberous root from which grows a stem up to 6 feet high. Linear, dotted leaves grow from the stem. Leaves at the base of the plant can be up to 12 inches long. Spikes of small flowers bloom from August to October, and are bluish-purple in colour.

The rootstock of the blazing star plant has diuretic properties. A decoction can be used as a gargle for sore throat, and as a remedy for gonorrhea.

Liatris squarrosa

Also known as scaly blazing star, blazing star root and rattle-snake master. This is a native North American variety which is found in dry, open woods, clearings and fields. It is much smaller than marsh blazing star, growing to a height of only 2 feet. The flower spike blooms between June and September.

Scaly blazing star is also diuretic and is used similarly to marsh blazing star. It is believed to be helpful for snakebite, the bruised root being applied to the wound. A decoction mixed with milk would then be consumed.

Liatrus scariosa

Also known as tall blazing star, blue blazing star, gayfeather and large button-snakeroot. This variety is found in woods, fields and along roadsides. The tuberous root sends up a stem up to 3 feet tall. The leaves are much broader than those of the marsh blazing star, and it also has much smaller, dotted leaves towards the top of the plant. Medicinal use of this plant is the same as for scaly blazing star.