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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 from Virginia to Minnesota, south to Texas and Florida.

Eryngium yuccifolium LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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4-5 Feet


1-2 Feet


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

rattlesnake master Interesting Notes

Although strikingly unusual for a native, Eryngium yuccifolium was once a common species of prairies and other grasslands throughout the Midwestern and southeastern US. Slightly spiny leaves are arranged in a rosette that resembles Yucca with stiff, long, strap-like leaves, a great plant for areas with high herbivory pressure. Flower stems shoot 4’-6’ skyward in summer and are topped with thistle-like bluish silver flowers which gracefully age to a deep brown. Rattlesnake master is an unusual member of the Carrot family and has been used medicinally for generations by Native Americans. This is an excellent architectural addition to an urban stormwater system or meadow and has multiple seasons of interest.

Rattlesnake master is endemic to the eastern blackland prairies and open woodlands of the eastern United States. To see Eryngium yuccifolium stand its tallest, avoid overly rich soils and shaded conditions. A unique and eye-catching plant for tough sites, it prefers medium moisture levels to some dryness and can tolerate clay, sand, or limestone based soils.

In our trial gardens Eryngium yuccifolium has been a beautiful, structural species, adaptable to a variety of well-drained soil types. This plant will self-seed readily - if this is undesirable, simply cut back stalks after blooming. Rattlesnake master is a host plant for Swallowtail butterfly larvae and a nectar source for a variety of bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths, beetles and plant bugs. It is covered with pollinators throughout its long bloom season.

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
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative (FAC)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Clay Tolerance
Ornamental Foliage
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated