32. Liatris gracilis Pursh, Fl. Amer. Sept. 2: 508. 1813.
Lacinaria gracilis (Pursh) Kuntze; L. laxa Small
Plants 20–100 cm. Corms globose to subglobose. Stems puberulent to piloso- or strigoso-puberulent. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline 1-nerved, usually linear to linear-oblanceolate or oblanceolate, sometimes narrowly spatulate, 50–150 × 2–8(–10) mm, gradually or abruptly reduced on distal 1/2–1/3 of stems, essentially glabrous (proximal margins ciliate). Heads in loose, racemiform arrays. Peduncles 0 or (usually straight, stiffly spreading to ascending) 2–10(–12) mm. Involucres cylindro-campanulate, (4–)4.5–6(–7) × 3–4(–5) mm. Phyllaries in 3(–4) series, (green to purple) ovate to oblong, strongly to weakly unequal, sparsely puberulent, margins with hyaline borders, ciliolate, apices rounded to truncate. Florets 3–6(–9); corolla tubes pilose inside. Cypselae 3–3.5 mm; pappi: lengths ± equaling corollas, bristles barbellate. 2n = 20.
Flowering (Jul–)Aug–Oct(–Nov). Longleaf pine, slash pine, palmetto-scrub oak, turkey oak-bluejack oak, sand scrub, sand ridges, uplands, boggy flatwoods, sandy peat, fencerows, roadsides, woodland edges; 10–50 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., Miss., S.C.
Plants of Liatris gracilis from the panhandle of Florida and the southern tier of Alabama counties tend to have sharply acute phyllaries; intermediates are often encountered.