Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Rattlesnake Master
Give a thumbs up Button Eryngo
Give a thumbs up Beargrass
Give a thumbs up Button Snakeroot
Give a thumbs up Bear's Grass
Give a thumbs up Northern Rattlesnake-Master

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 2-5 feet
Plant Spread: 2-3 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: Parallel-veined leaves are spiny; alternate; mostly at base, kind of yucca-like; crushed have carrot smell
Fruiting Time: Fall
Flowers: Showy
Other: Florets form a spherical head, like a golf ball. In bright sun sickly honey scented
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish-white (whole flower head may turn purplish with age)
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Other Beneficial Insects: beetles, and plant bugs
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: Needs 2 months cold moist treatment.
Other info: may self seed
Pollinators: Wasps
Moths and Butterflies
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil


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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 17, 2018 8:20 PM

This Rattlesnake Master is a most interesting perennial that got its name from Native Americans brewing a tea from its root to cure snake bites. This is one of those perennials that once planted, it does not have to ever be divided and reset. In fact, because it has a taproot, it should not be divided, leading to death. It self-sows around well. I've grown it in silt-clay loam and clay soil where after several years it either starts to die out as a short-lived perennial or it gets a root rot. Fortunately, it comes back from nearby seedlings, and I've had several plants in my natural garden for about 15 years. Maybe it does not do this in sandy soils. It likes full sun and dry or well-drained soils. It is a good pollinator plant that attracts butterflies, moths, bees, and wasps, especially Blue-winged Wasps. It is native to prairies and meadows from Minnesota & Wisconsin to New Jersey and southward into the deep South, including most of Florida. It is sold by most all native plant nurseries in eastern North America. I'm the only one in my town that is growing some, so it is infrequent in gardens and landscapes. It is used a lot in prairie and native plant restorations in forest preserves, land preserves, parks, and arboretums.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Oct 28, 2011 6:53 PM

A native wildflower. The tiny white flowers are tightly packed in 1" dia. round balls. Found in open woods and prairies.
Indians (Mesquakies) used the root to treat snake bite.

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Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Feb 26, 2013 6:22 PM

Button Eryngo is one of our most distinct native wildflowers here in Florida and is found throughout the state. This plant has a basal rosette of 12" - 36" long, stiff, strap-like bluish-green leaves that taper to sharp points. Leaves resemble those of yucca plants. Flower stems are 3' to 4' tall and the flowers resemble those of thistle. Flowers consist of dense clusters of numerous 5-petaled tiny greenish-white flowers; with a prickly bract beneath each flower head. The flower heads persist on the plant after blooming.

Button Eryngo is found in habitats of moist to dry pinelands, marshes, roadsides, and open woodlands.

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Plant Events from our members
MrsBinWY On April 29, 2017 Seeds germinated
MrsBinWY On February 14, 2017 Seeds sown
milk jug; per TC: room temp for 3-4 weeks (move to 24-39 degrees for 2-4 weeks if no germination); 16 seeds from poisondartfrog; put milk jug in fridge 3-22-17; unfridged 4-15-17
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What is this plant please? by HamiltonSquare Jun 18, 2016 3:13 PM 5
Yardening in the Mid-Atlantic by Eric4home Jan 19, 2020 1:23 PM 3,202

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