Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  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.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 

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.