Maryland Native plants for summer: Eryngium yuccifolium – rattlesnake master

Jun 20, 2024 | Blog, Native Plant Spotlight

Maryland Native Plants for Summer

Eryngium yuccifolium – rattlesnake master

Eryngium yuccifolium


Eryngium yuccifolium is a Maryland native plant that is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers dryish, sandy soils. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Plants tend to open up and sprawl if grown in overly fertile soils or in anything less than full sun. This is a tap-rooted plant which transplants poorly and is best left undisturbed once established. Eryngium yuccifolium is commonly called rattlesnake-master or button snake-root, occurs in rocky woods, prairies and glades.

Most members of the parsley/carrot family (Apiaceae) have finely cut foliage and flowers in domed umbels. Not so with with this plant which features basal rosettes of parallel-veined, bristly-edged, sword-shaped, medium green leaves (to 3′ long) resembling those of yucca (lily family) and tiny, stemless, greenish-white flowers tightly packed into globular, 1″ diameter heads resembling thistles. Flower heads appear in branched clusters at the top of smooth stiff stems typically rising to 3-4 feet tall from the centers of the rosettes. The blooms are attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators.

Common Name: rattlesnake master
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Greenish-white
Sun: Full sunWater: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
(Information from Missouri Botanical Garden)
Eryngium yaccafolium (rattlesnake master) in the fall

Rattlesnake master foliage in the fall

Eryngium yaccafolium (rattlesnake master) leaves

Rattlesnake master foliage in summer

Eryngium yaccafolium (rattlesnake master) in bloom

Rattlesnake master in bloom

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