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Eryngium yuccifolium (rattlesnake master)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Eryngium yuccifolium

rattlesnake master

A unique and eye-catching plant for a dry, sunny site. Slightly spiny leaves are arranged in a rosette that resembles Yucca. Flower stems shoot skyward in summer and are topped with thistle-like bluish silver flowers. An architectural addition to the perennial border or meadow. Found in moist and dry sandy soils in open woods, fields, and prairies; Virginia to Minnesota, south to Texas and Florida.

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4-5 Feet


1-2 Feet


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

rattlesnake master Interesting Notes

The striking, creamy-white flower heads that resemble thistles and bluish-green, sword-like foliage make button snake-root an excellent accent plant in the garden. In fact, the foliage looks very similar to the desert plant yucca. It is easily grown in full sun and adaptable to any soil type that is well-drained to dry. Allow the flower clusters, borne on 2-3’ stems, to remain on the plants until October, then collect them for dried arrangements. Or, use them in the garden for winter interest. As an essential element in a meadow garden, button snake-root can be grown with softer textured plants such as Muhlenbergia capillarisEragrostis spectabilisAndropogon virginicusAmsonia ciliata, and Symphyotrichum oblongifolium. - Mt. Cuba Center

Although there is currently no scientific evidence to support claims of medicinal properties by Native Americans, Rattlesnake Master was a popular herb in the 18th and 19th centuries. James Adair, an Indian trader, was one of the first to document medicinal uses of Rattlesnake Master. He recounted tales in which Indians chewed the root, blew it on their hands, and then handled rattlesnakes without any conscience. - The Botanical Gardens at Asheville

Button eryngo is a host plant for Swallowtail butterfly larvae and a nectar source for many pollinators.

Eryngium yuccifolium Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best in full sun and adaptable to any well-drained soil type. This species is best kept in the rear of the border flower stalks can reach up to 5' in height. In mulched or fertilized situations blooms will be much more prolific, possibly requiring staking on less-established plants.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Native to North America
Ornamental Foliage
Propagation Type
Open pollinated