"White Snakeroot, Deerwort, Poolwort, Rich Weed, Snake Weed, Squaw Weed, White Sanicle"
Greek, from the name of the King of Pontus, Eupator and rugosum from the Latin for "wrinkled", most likely referring to the appearance of the leaves.
Found widely throughout the Tallgrass region in the partial shade and rich soils of rocky woodlands at the base of bluffs or edges of clearings. White flowers on small heads bloom from July to October. Can grow to five feet tall and feels sticky to the touch.
White Snakeroot was the cause of "Milk Sickness" in many parts of the early fronteir. It is thought to have caused more deaths than any other disease of the time. Cows eat the plant, secrete a poison, tremetol, into their milk. The cattle would develop the sickness called "trembles". Abraham Lincoln's Mother died from "Milk Sickness". Large numbers of early pioneers died from this disease and, not knowing the cause, blamed it on "cursed land" and would move elsewhere. The confusion over the cause of "Milk Sickness continued up to the 1900's.
Early settlers would sometimes use the plant to treat urinary disorders and Native Americans used the smoke from the burning plant to revive a person who had fainted. In fact, the Native American term used for White Snakeroot translated into "smoke a person".
|Sun Exposure||Savanna, Woodland|
|Soil Moisture||Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic|
|Bloom Time|| |
Summer, Fall July, August, September, October
|Max Height||2 feet|
|Seeds Per Packet||500|
|Seeds Per Ounce||150,000|
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Uses: The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, gravel and urinary diseases. It has also been used in herbal sweat baths to encourage sweating. A decoction or infusion of the root has been taken to treat a fallen or inflamed womb.
Herbal Uses: Unknown