This week’s Wildflower Wednesday featured flower is Rattlesnake Master.
Rattlesnake Master is native to WI growing primarily in southern Wisconsin. It prefers prairies with full sun and moist soil.
It produces globe-like flowers that bloom July - August. Each flower stalk can have between 10 – 40 flowerheads, each flowerhead averages 100 individual flowers. After flowering, the plant produces a seed capsule that rattles.
The flowers are extremely attractive to a wide variety of insects, which makes it especially attractive to predatory wasps. It is the only food source for the threatened Rattlesnake-master borer moth.
The name Rattlesnake Master came from early settlers when they observed Native Americans using the plant sap as a treatment for rattlesnake bites.
Rattlesnake Master looks like a desert plant, its leaves look like the leaves of a Yucca plant, its flowers look like a thistle but it’s actually a member of the carrot family. If you crush its leaves it smells like a carrot.
Indigenous people use its fibrous leaves for weaving, making sandals and baskets that have survived thousands of years.