Eryngium yuccifolium (Button snake-root, Rattlesnake Master) is a common herbaceous perennial plant, native to the tallgrass prairies of central and eastern North America, from Minnesota east to Ohio and south to Texas and Florida. It grows to 1.8 m tall, with linear leaves 15–100 cm long but only 1–3 cm broad, with bristly or spiny margins and a sharp tip. The flowers are produced in dense apical umbels 1–3 cm diameter, each flower greenish-white or bluish-white, 3–4 mm diameter. When this plant flowers, pollen matures before stigmas become receptive to maximize outcrossing. Rattlesnake master has unusually high seed set (close to 90%).
It gets its name because some Native Americans used its root as an antidote for rattlesnake venom. The scientific name was given because its leaves resemble those of yuccas. Fibers of Rattlesnake Master have also been found as one of the primary materials used in the ancient shoe construction of Midwestern Native Americans.
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References[edit source | edit]
- Melano Flores, Brenda. 2001. "Reproductive Biology of Eryngium yuccifolium (Apiaceae), a prairie species". Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128:1-6
- Swink, Floyd and Gerould Wilhelm. Plants of the Chicago Region. Indiana Academy of Science. 1994
- Betz, R. F., Lootens, R. J. & Becker, M. K. (1996) Two decades of prairie restoration at Fermilab Batvia, Illinois. Proceedings of the North American Prairie Conference (ed C. Warwick). St. Charles, Illinois.
- Schramm, P. (1990) Prairie Restoration: A twenty-five year perspective on establishment and management. Proceedings of the twelfth North American Prairie conference (eds D. D. Smith & C. A. Jacobs). University of Northern Iowa.