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The ball at the top of the stalk is made up of lots of tiny white flowers surrounded by sharp bracts (specialized leaves below the flower heads). The leaves are very distinctive with long parallel veins and long thin teeth which are curved like a rattlesnakes fangs.
|Leaves with long hair-like teeth|
According to Illinoiswildflowers, Native Americans used the dried seedheads as rattles. It received its name from the pioneers who claimed the roots were an effective snakebite antidote. In addition to a garden plant, it is promoted for sale in websites like herb-magic.com.
"Wear RATTLESNAKE MASTER, Red Pepper, and Salt in your Shoes, and you can walk with impunity where people have laid down crossing powders and where poisonous Snakes dwell. A living RATTLESNAKE MASTER plant near your front door -- especially the strong-smelling Eryngium foetidum -- is said to keep snakes away."
"We make no representations for RATTLESNAKE MASTER, and sell as a Curio only."
|Timber Rattlesnake- Click to Enlarge|