Fl. Bor.-Amer. 2: 93. 1803.
Plants 20–60 cm. Corms usually globose, rarely elongate. Stems glabrous. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 3(–5)-nerved, linear-oblanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 80–250 × 2–6 mm (largest usually distal to proximalmost), gradually reduced distally, essentially glabrous (proximal margins pilose-ciliate). Heads borne singly or (2–28) in loose to dense, racemiform to spiciform arrays. Peduncles 0 or (spreading-ascending) 2–10(–20) mm. Involucres cylindro-campanulate, (11–)13–18 × 6–8 mm. Phyllaries in 5–7 series, ovate-triangular (outer) to broadly oblong or spatulate-oblong, strongly unequal, essentially glabrous, margins usually with narrow hyaline borders, ciliolate, apices broadly rounded, rounded-acuminate, or truncate (inner stiffly mucronate). Florets 10–35; corolla tubes glabrous inside (lobes adaxially hispid). Cypselae 5–7 mm; pappi: lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles plumose.
Phenology: Flowering Jul–Sep.
Habitat: Prairies, limestone outcrops, bluffs, barrens, and glades, marl, sandstone outcrops, dunes, roadsides, sandy pine-oak, wooded northern slopes
Elevation: 100–400 m
Ont., Ala., Ark., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Tenn., Wis.
Stems and leaves of Liatris cylindracea sometimes are hairy (Kentucky, Missouri), perhaps reflecting genetic influence from L. hirsuta. See also discussion under 1. L. compacta.