Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Eryngium yuccifolium Michx.
- Family: Carrot (Apiaceae)
- Flowering: July-August
- Field Marks: The long, strap-shaped leaves with spine-tipped teeth and the spherical heads
of white flowers readily distinguish this species.
- Habitat: Flat woods, bogs, savannas, ditches, extending into well-drained, open woodlands.
- Habit: Perennial herb with thickened roots.
- Stems: Upright, stout, smooth, up to 6 feet tall.
- Leaves: Narrow, elongate, basal and alternate, parallel-veined; lower leaves up to 3 feet long;
upper leaves much smaller, long-pointed at the tip, usually clasping the stem at the base, with
spine-tipped teeth, smooth on both surfaces.
- Flowers: Many, crowded into spherical heads, the heads 1/2-4/5 inch in diameter, subtended
by jagged-edged bracts.
- Sepals: 5, united below, ovate, pointed at the tip, green.
- Petals: 5, white, short-pointed at the tip, about 1/8 inch long.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; styles 2.
- Fruits: Dry, scaly, 1/12 inch long.
- Notes: The leaves resemble those of yucca of the lily family. New growth of rattlesnake-master
is palatable and nutritious for livestock and is readily grazed. The plant may be dried and used
as indoor winter decorations.
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