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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Native to Know: Rattlesnake Master

This unique, hardy perennial adds a splash of interest and texture to your garden

Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Do you gravitate toward tough, fuss-free perennials so that you can enjoy your garden without a lot of work? Or do you prefer hunting for out-of-the-ordinary plants to give your garden a memorable touch? With rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium, Zones 4–9), you can have it both ways. This uncommon plant adds drama and quirkiness while thriving without any extra fuss from you.

Native to much of the eastern United States, rattlesnake master’s range reaches into some parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. Even where it doesn’t grow naturally, it’s cold hardy through through Zone 5 at least, so it’s well suited to gardens throughout our area. You’d be excused for thinking otherwise because of its spiky, yucca-like leaves and exotic-looking flowers; it looks more like something you’d find in a desert environment than something that would thrive in a Connecticut perennial border, a Pennsylvania meadow, or a New Jersey wetland. It really…

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