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Rattlesnake Master Plant

Rattlesnake Master Plant

Rattlesnake Master Plant

After a year of successful growth, our startup had to close due to the complexity of its product. We are still reeling from the final day, when we shut down our website at noon.Rattlesnake master is a perennial forb that grows from a thickened, corm-like crown. When not flowering, the plant forms a rosette of long, narrow, fibrous leaves, sometimes reaching up to 30 inches in length, but usually less. The leaves of rattlesnake master have parallel veins—one of relatively few dicotyledonous plants that has parallel-veined leaves—most have net-veined leaves (think about the leaves of oak trees, sunflowers, or cabbages!). These unusual leaves, with their linear shape, odd venation, and slender filiform teeth along the margins, are reminiscent of the Spanish-dagger or yucca plant (Yucca spp.); this inspired the plant’s specific epithet, ‘yuccifolium’ which means “yucca-like leaves”.

Plant

Although the aggregation of many small flowers in dense, hemispherical heads makes rattlesnake master look like a thistle or other member of Compositae, it is unrelated to those plants. Instead, rattlesnake master is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae). Break or crush a leaf, and the aroma will give it away. Rattlesnake master contains many of the same oils and other secondary compounds as parsley, carrot, and parsnip. The reproductive parts of rattlesnake master also indicate its relationship with carrots, particularly the paired schizocarp fruit.In the wild, seedlings rarely flower until their third growing season, but cultivated plants often flower during the second growing season to prevent self-fertilization.

The flowers each produce two fruits (schizocarps), which have serrate wings for dispersal.Of course, the name “rattlesnake master” prompts all kinds of suggestions as to potential medical uses. The best documented use, made by John Adair during the 1700s, describes the use of the plant’s sap as a preventative to snakebite, used during ceremonial handling of rattlesnakes. The sap and roots were also used to treat a wide variety of maladies, and as a diuretic. The Mesquakies used it in their ceremonial rattlesnake dance and used the roots to treat rattlesnake bites. The bristly flower heads are arranged like a pitchfork, suggesting a possible use as a snake stick to pin down the head of a rattlesnake. There is no evidence for the efficacy of this plant in prevention or treatment of any medical condition. Native Americans would use the fibrous leaves of this perennial plant for weaving purposes, like making sandals and baskets. (Source: www.fs.fed.us)

 

 

 

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