Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Rattlesnake Master

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eryngium yuccifolium

    COMMON NAME: Rattlesnake Master, Button Snake-root, Button Eryngo, Beargrass

    BLOOM TIME: July, Aug, Sept

    Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie credit: R. Kapala


    • Plants grow 2 to 5 foot tall.
    • Native Americans used to treat rattlesnake bites.
    • Native Americans used the dried seed heads as rattles for their children.
    • Native Americans also used leaves in weaving for sandals & baskets.
    • Flowers and seeds look like prickly balls.
    • Flowers have a sickly honey like scent when in bright sunlight..
    • Very odd member of the Carrot family that resembles a yucca or some other desert plant.
    • It is a true tallgrass prairie species with a unique appearance.


    • The coarse foliage & prickly balls of flowers are not popular as a source of food with mammalian herbivores, although they may nibble off the ends of the leaves.               
    • The flowering heads attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths, beetles, and plant bugs.