The Blazing Star
Today is the anniversary of the death of the former curator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and devoted scientist Otto Emery Jennings. He died at the age of 86.
In 1904, Jennings started out as the custodian at the Carnegie Museum. Otto kept climbing the ladder, and over the span of 41 years, he was ultimately named the director of the Museum in 1945. Over his long career, he had been chief, curator, and bottle washer.
Today, the Jennings Nature Reserve near Butler Pennsylvania is named for Otto, who initiated it’s protection to save the Blazing Star (Liatrisliatris spicata). The 20-acre reserve was expressly cleared to enable the Blazing Star to spread and multiply.
Other common names for the Blazing Star include the Gayfeather or Prairie Star. This North American native plant and late-blooming prairie flower offers stately plumes of purple or white. The many wonderful characteristics of the Blazing Star make it a favorite with gardeners - it's easy to grow and propagate, it's low maintenance, it makes excellent cut flowers, and the pollinators love them. Monarchs go crazy for Blazing Star. The Blazing Star grows up to 16 in tall. And, gardeners should note that it has a taller cousin called Prairie Blazing Star that can grow to be 5 ft tall.