Fall Wildflowers of New England
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White Snakeroot
Eupatorium rugosum
F. Asteraceae
General Description:

White snakeroot is a relatively tall plant that measures 30-90 cm in height. This wildflower is easily recognized by its rounded clusters of distinctive, hairy, compound flower heads. The leaves are large and broadly ovate with toothed margins.

Eupatorium rugosum's compound flower heads.
Flowers:

The compound flower heads of white snakeroot are small, measuring 5 mm. in width, and are comprised of several, white, radially symmetrical flowers with reduced, tapered petals and a white, highly elongated, hair-like central protrusion. These protrusions give the flower heads a fuzzy characteristic that is even further pronounced as flower heads are arranged in dense, rounded clusters along the length of the stem.

Fruit:

The fruit are tiny and seed like with white bristles

Leaves:

The leaves are disproportionately large, measuring 6.5-18 cm. in length, and are broadly ovate, stalked, with slightly pointed tips and largely-toothed margins. Leaves are arranged in an opposite fashion along the length of the stem.

Habitat:

White snakeroot grows best in woods and thickets.

Fun Facts:

White snakeroot is a toxic plant. The toxins in its leaves and stem can prove fatal to cows that graze on it. Also, these toxins carry into milk that, when ingested by humans, can cause milk sickness, a potentially fatal disease.

Bee pollinating Eupatorium rugosum.
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