Rattlesnake Master, Button Snakeroot
Eryngium yuccifolium

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Eryngium (er-RIN-jee-um) (Info)
Species: yuccifolium (yuk-ki-FOH-lee-um) (Info)

Category:

Herbs

Perennials

Height:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

Light Blue

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Silver/Gray

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Opelika, Alabama

Huntington, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Menifee, California

Bartow, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Lula, Georgia

Divernon, Illinois

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

La Grange Park, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Bloomfield, Iowa

Louisville, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Jennings, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pollock, Louisiana

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Watervliet, Michigan

Eveleth, Minnesota

Madison, Mississippi

Cross Timbers, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Frenchtown, New Jersey

New Milford, New Jersey

Polkton, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Dallas, Texas

Fate, Texas

Merit, Texas

Burlington, Vermont

Staunton, Virginia

Bryn Mawr-skyway, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Great Cacapon, West Virginia

Rice Lake, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

7
positives
4
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jul 25, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This long-lived perennial is more architectural than ornamental. It was a common plant of the tall-grass prairie, and does well in the border with other plants crowding about it---other plants also help support the tall flower stems, which can reach 6'. It is quite drought-tolerant, and can be short-lived in gardens with frequent irrigation or poor drainage. It prefers full sun and dry sandy soils without excessive fertility.

Positive

On Dec 16, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I grew it for several years west of Chicago, IL, in two locations, originally ordering it from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin. Did well, but it oftentimes seems to die from a root rot after a few years, unless perhaps it is just a short-lived perennial.. If so, it still reseeds itself nearby, as it self sows a good amount. It does well in southeast PA also in the same way. Good attractor of bees, wasps, and butterflies; especially the Blue-wined Wasp.

Positive

On Oct 16, 2009, ansonfan from Polkton, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Collect seeds by removing seedheads in autumn after they turn brown. Break apart seedhead and dry for several days.

Positive

On Jun 22, 2009, joylily514 from Katy, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

The information about its water needs is incorrect. This is a prairie plant and is very drought tolerant. It's needs are dry to moderate.

Positive

On Oct 22, 2006, quasymoto from Bloomfield, IA (Zone 5b) wrote:

We have had Rattlesnake master for a good 10 years. I have found here in Iowa it did not like the East side of the house where there was a water spigot. I moved it and have moved the plant a few times with no trouble and just realised it is in the same family as my blue sea holly. So I do like the contrast they add to an area.

Neutral

On Aug 1, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Cultural information only.

Found they are found in pastures, woods and thickets throughout most of the eastern US from Minnesota,south to Texas, and Connecticut to Florida in the east

Livestock find the leaves distasteful.

Positive

On May 21, 2005, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Self-seeds if you leave the seed-heads on the plants. Seedlings are easily moved, but don't wait too long. Once they're established, they resent transplanting. Do not try to move or divide established plants. May need to stake the tall flower stalks. Needs excellent drainage, or it will rot over the winter. A wonderful accent plant and conversation piece.

Neutral

On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

The flowering
heads attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued
bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies,
skippers, moths, beetles, and plant bugs.
Seeking nectar, although some of the bees may collect
pollen for their brood nests. The caterpillars of the rare
Papaipema eryngii (Rattlesnake Master Borer Moth)
The coarse foliage and
prickly balls of flowers are not popular as a source of
food with mammalian herbivores, although they may nibble
the leaves.

Positive

On Oct 13, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This attractive native plant may be grown through zone 10a. It is a wonderful "starter" for a native plant garden because it is easy to grow.

Neutral

On Oct 12, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The name "Rattlesnake Master" is due to an old myth that the roots could be used to heal rattlesnake bites. It looks a lot like a yucca plant. Makes a good accent plant.

Neutral

On Aug 8, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant stumps many beginning wildflower enthusiasts. A member of the carrot family, it looks similar to a small yucca or agave: broad, linear leaves that taper to a sharp point and grow in dense, stemless rosettes. Unlike true yuccas and agaves, rattlesnake master grows best in moist habitats (although it is also sometimes found in drier areas.) The flower heads are aggregated into white, rounded heads. A very ornamental and popular species of Eryngium.