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This is a very odd member of the Carrot family that resembles a yucca or some other desert plant. However, it is a true tallgrass prairie species with a unique appearance. A close relative is Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth Eryngo), which is an annual plant with a purplish appearance. This latter species doesn't occur in Illinois, but can be found in dry prairies further west. In the past, the dried seedheads of Rattlesnake Master were used as rattles by Amerindians. Pioneers thought the roots could be used as an effective antidote to rattlesnake bite, hence the common name of this plant. However, this belief was erroneous. Return

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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