Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium

Rattlesnake master


Carrot Family

A plant with striking architecture and an equally interesting common name, in this case, Rattlesnake master falls into both. This herbaceous perennial enjoys full sun and is one of the more ubiquitous Eryngium species. The leaves are thin with rough margins which resemble that of another plant, Yucca sp. which resulted in the botanical epithet yuccifolium. The range for this particular species stretches throughout the Eastern US and into the Midwest.

The Meskwaki Nation of Indigenous Americans were one of the first groups to introduce alternative uses for Erygium yuccifolium. It is said that it’s roots and sap were used to prevent rattlesnake bites and the flowers were used in ceremonies.

The set of pollinators for this species are abundant. Contrary to most plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae), Rattlesnake master has spherical flower heads which are attractive to a variety of bees, beetles, and other insects.