Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Eryngium yuccifolium
Rattlesnake Master

I plan on reading the December selection for the Gardener's Book Club but thought I would also give a personal answer to the query.

While Rattlesnake Master might not seem much of a choice when seen alone, its merits become apparent when seen amid other plants.

In spring the yucca shaped leaves bring strength and structure to the emerging foliage of ornamental grass and blooming wildflowers like the baptisia,zizia,amsonia,lithrum,allium,and prairie dropseed pictured.

In full sun Eryngium yuccifolium grows tall and flowers stand high giving easy access to nectar and pollen for long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths, beetles, and plant bugs.

The groups of darkened golf ball shaped seed heads and thick stems against dried grass, snow and winter skies carry the drama through fall into winter.

An abundant self seeder Rattlesnake master's many seedlings perish without ample sunlight beneath the heavy meadow like or natural style planting rarely dominating. In garden beds the many seedlings are easily removed with a hoe or hand cultivator.

Rattlesnake master is a large dramatic plant that demands attention. People stop and ask about this plant, curious as to why one would grow such a thing. I tell them it is a welcome flag for the pollinators and I am a sucker for good theater.

Garden Book Club


Anonymous The County Clerk said...

Interesting perspective.

13/12/06 9:38 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Do you recognize The Lurie Garden at Millennium Park?
I am a volunteer through the Master Gardeners so I take scads of photos throughout the year. I have always had a habitat garden but the Lurie has introduced me to so many wonderful plants.

I have spent time reading your blog and archives,time well spent...

14/12/06 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not heard of this plant, so I learned something new this evening. Thanks for posting about your favorite plant!

14/12/06 9:22 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I did not know this plant. I have heard the name but for some reason I thought it was a cactus. I need to look for it. Especially since I have rattlesnakes about.

30/12/06 2:21 PM  

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