- Common Name(s):
- White snakeroot, fall poison
- Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Poisonous Plants, Wildflowers
Eupatorium rugosum commonly called white snakeroot is native to woodland areas in the Eastern United States. It typically occurs in rich or rocky woods, thickets, wood margins, and rocky areas.
Garden uses are cottage gardens, wild gardens, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas. May be effective in shady corners of the border.
Native Americans reportedly used a decoction of the roots as a remedy for snakebite, hence the common name. Settlers who drank milk from cows that fed on this plant often developed the disease called milk sickness.
This plant is synonymous with Ageratina altissima.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Blooms: Late Summer/fall Nut/Fruit/Seed: Fall
Wildlife Value: This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. Its flowers are attractive to butterflies, especially smaller species and other pollinators. Songbirds eat the seeds.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Leaf miners and flea beetles may attack the foliage. Self-seeding and rhizomatous can spread rapidly in optimum growing conditions.
- Summer into fall
- Sun, part shade
- 1-5 ft.
- Flower Color:
- USDA Hardiness Zone 3 to 8
- White snakeroot has long-stalked, sharp-toothed, taper-pointed, lance-shaped to elliptic-oval, nettle-like, dark green leaves (3-6” long) that are paired along the stems. Leaves are 3-6" long.
- White snakeroot features small fluffy bright white flowers (composites with rays absent) arranged in loose, flattened clusters (corymbs to 3-4” across) atop smooth stems typically rising 3-5’ tall. It blooms from late summer to frost. This is a somewhat weedy perennial that can spread aggressively by rhizomes and self-seeding.
- Herbaceous perennial
- White snakeroot is easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade in moist, humusy soils. Does reasonably well in dryish soils, however. These plants have decidedly better shade tolerance than most other species of Eupatorium. Deadhead spent flower heads to avoid any unwanted self-seeding. Easily grown from seed.
- Part shade to full shade
- USA, NC
- Poison Part:
- All parts
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Ingestion of raw milk from cows feeding on the plant
- "Milk sickness": weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, delirium, prostration, coma
- Toxic Principle:
- Tremetone, a ketone
- HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!
- Found in:
- Forest or natural area in open forests, weedy in disturbed areas along roadsides, edges of woods, fields
- Life Cycle:
NCCES plant id: 1040