Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rattlesnake Master - Know It & Grow It!

Here are just some of the literally hundreds of photos that I've taken of rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) which is a superb, native perennial for full sun.  I love the spherical umbels (flower clusters) on this summer blooming plant that also features bluish/grey-green foliage.  The flowers age from a green to white to brown (see below).  The foliage (see further below) is long and strap-like with "toothed" margins.  This perennial is a member of the carrot family and will get 3'-6' tall depending on siting and rainfall.  The name "rattlesnake master" refers to the Native American use of the roots to treat rattlesnake bites.  I've also read that the leaf fibers were used in early shoe construction by Midwestern Native Americans (Wikipedia).  This perennial doesn't transplant readily once established due to a deep taproot but does set quite a bit of seed.  Rattlesnake master is also tolerant of a wide range of soils (including clay) although taller specimens may require staking or "supporting neighbors."  They are quite nice in groupings.  Many insects will be attracted to this native which also showcases a very interesting flower architecture that always catches my eye (and camera lens)!
It was a quiet day at the Horticulture Center.  Pat stopped by for some lights repair and Dr. Yahr popped in as well.  I continue to go through catalogs and will likely check over the Holiday Lights Show (HLS) tomorrow and Friday to make sure everything is operational and the paths are good to go.  Our recent damp weekend wont be repeated for the next "block" of the HLS (Dec. 19-23) which looks cooler.  The paths should harden up nicely and we shouldn't have many "moisture-related" issues.  We anticipate another strong crowd for each of the remaining eight nights of the HLS.  More rattlesnake master photos can be seen below. 

early flower color above before turning white (below)




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