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Rattlesnake Master

Eryngium yuccifolium


Eryngium yuccifolium, commonly called rattlesnake-master or button snake-root, is a native plant which occurs in rocky woods, prairies and glades and was a common plant of the tallgrass prairie. Most members of the parsley/carrot family (Apiaceae) have finely cut foliage and flowers in domed umbels. Not so with rattlesnake-master which features basal rosettes of parallel-veined, bristly-edged, sword-shaped, medium green leaves (to 3' long) resembling those of yucca (lily family) and tiny, stemless, greenish-white flowers tightly packed into globular, 1" diameter heads resembling thistles (composite family). Flower heads appear in branched clusters at the top of smooth stiff stems typically rising to 3-4' (less frequently to 5-6') tall from the centers of the rosettes. Flower heads are subtended by whitish, pointed bracts. Genus name comes from an ancient Greek name used by Theophrastus for a plant which grew in Greece (probably Eryngium campestre). Specific epithet is in reference to leaves that look like Yucca. Common name is in reference to a former use of this plant as a treatment for rattlesnake bite.

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Wisconsin, USA

Spotted on Aug 5, 2015
Submitted on Oct 12, 2016

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