Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Plant of the Week: Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Snout on rattlesnake master.  Notice the 5 white petals on each individual flower.

Summer azure on rattlesnake master ball
This true tallgrass prairie species is one of the most unique members of the Carrot family and makes for a wonderful cut flower, works well in dried flower arrangements, and attracts butterflies.  It has an extended flowering period sometimes lasting all summer.  The plant gets its name because the Native Americans used the dried seed heads as rattles and the early pioneers believed the roots were an antidote to rattlesnake bites, which of course they are not.  This 2-5' tall plant has long strap-like leaves with stiff, short widely spaced hairs that resemble a yucca plant, although there is no relationship.  The entire plant is smooth and has a bluish to grayish tint to the foliage.  The tiny individual flowers are contained within a 1 - 1 1/2" ball that is whitish to greenish color and each tiny flower has 5 petals and there are sharp sepals at the base of the flower ball.  This is a very easy species to grow in the garden and it likes full sun, can tolerate typical soils found in urban environments, and once established, is very drought tolerant because it has a central taproot.  This species has no serious disease or pest issues.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012

    I have several of these in my native plant garden and love the unique texture they add. Most of my friends seem to think they are an exotic eyesore. Beauty in the eye of the beholder I suppose...