Sp. Pl. 3: 1635. 1803
Plants 30–150 cm. Corms subglobose. Stems puberulent (at least distally, sometimes glabrous proximally). Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, elliptic- to oblanceolate-spatulate, 120–300 × 25–50(–55) mm, abruptly, gradually, or little reduced distally, essentially glabrous, weakly, if at all, gland-dotted. Heads in racemiform arrays. Peduncles usually (ascending) 10–50 mm. Involucres campanulate to turbinate-campanulate, 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.
Ark., Conn., Ill., Ind., Maine, Mass., Md., Mich., Mo., N.C., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Tenn., Va., W.Va., Wis.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
|1||Stems with 8–20(–25) leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 20–40(–50)||Liatris scariosa var. scariosa|
|1||Stems with 20–85 leaves or leafy bracts proximal to heads; florets 30–80.||> 2|
|2||Proximal cauline leaves mostly 25–50(–55) mm wide, hirtello-puberulent (and gland-dotted)||Liatris scariosa var. nieuwlandii|
|2||Proximal cauline leaves mostly 7–20(–26) mm wide, glabrous or hirtello-puberulent (weakly, if at all, gland-dotted)||Liatris scariosa var. novaeangliae|