The New England Blazing Star (Liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae), also known as the Northern Blazing Star, is the only native Liatris in Massachusetts. It is endemic to the northeastern United States and is only known to exist in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, and prefers dry, sandy grasslands, barrens and clearings. However, because even within these states it is considered rare (it is listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act as a species of Special Concern), I feel lucky to have stumbled upon it on a sandy coastal bank in Bourne.
It has showy pinkish-purple flowers that bloom from late August to September. The flowers are arranged in heads in clusters of 20 to 60 individual small, tubular, 5-lobed flowers. The flower heads are stalked, unlike most other Liatris species. The plant has numerous narrow, alternate, entire leaves along the stem, which stands 2 to 3 feet high.