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Rattlesnake Master, Button Eryngo, Button Snakeroot, Yuccaleaf Eryngo - Eryngium yuccifolium


Family: Apiaceae - Carrot family Genus Common Name: Eryngo Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Eryngium yuccifolium - Rattlesnake Master, Button Eryngo, Button Snakeroot, Yuccaleaf Eryngo. There are about 250 species of Eryngium in the world, with about 35 in the United States. While most are native to the U.S., several are introduced. It appears that all Eryngium found in the wild in Canada are introduced. While more Eryngium species are found in the western half of the country, the eastern Eryngium yuccifolium is the most widely distributed species of the genus in the United States (it is not found in Canada.)

As with many plants, Eryngium yuccifolium was used (and may continue to be used) by native Americans for medicinal purposes, with the roots being used to relieve toothaches and as a remedy for bladder and kidney problems, and as indicated by one of its common names, as a treatment for snakebite, especially that of the rattlesnake.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI
Eryngium yuccifolium

Distribution of Eryngium yuccifolium in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 13 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
While not clearly visible from this photo, the flower heads are subtended by several sharp, spreading bracts that give the inflorescence a spiny appearance.
Eryngium yuccifolium

Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Each flower head is spherical and made up of many green to greenish-white flowers. The heads are held on stout peduncles at the end of the stems.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Eryngium yuccifolium

Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The species name “yuccifolium” refers to the long, yucca-like leaves, most of which are basal or near the bottom of the stem. These basal and lower caudal leaves can be up to 3 feet long. Unbranched (until inflorescence) stems arise from the root stock. The caudal leaves are much shorter than the basal leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Eryngium yuccifolium

Site: Ascalon Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-August-04Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
he upper caudal leaves of Eryngium yuccifolium are much shorter than the basal leaves. All caudal leaves clasp the stem, a noteworthy diagnostic for this species. All the leaves have parallel veins, which helps to differentiate it from E. aquaticum, which has more pinnate veins. Another diagnostic for these two similar species is that Eryngium yuccifolium always has spines on the leaf margins, while E. aquaticum may not have the spines. Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium has single spines, while the spines of var. synchaetum spines are in bundles (fascicles) of 1-4 spines.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Eryngium yuccifolium

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer