Prairie blazing star, a member of the Asteraceae (Aster) family, is slender, with spikelike plants which grow up to 5 feet tall with abundant grasslike leaves and usually hairy stems. The lower leaves can be over 1 foot long and up 1/2 inch wide, with the stem leaves smaller and progressively reduced upward. The flower heads are in a dense spike at the top of the plant. Each small head is about 1/4 inch wide, with an overlapping series of bracts that have hairy, outward-curving, pointed tips. There are mostly 5 to 10 small, 5-lobed, purple disk flowers per head, with 2 prominent threadlike style branches protruding from each flower. Prairie blazing star usually blooms midsummer to early fall and is frequently found in moist to dry sites in upland prairies, moist prairie depressions, and mesic to dry prairies.