Northern rattlesnake-master named 2016 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year

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Northern rattlesnake-master named 2016 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Jan. 28, 2016) – The Northern rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium), an unusual prairie species native to the eastern and central United States, has been named the 2016 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year by the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG), part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.


With a basal clump of leathery strap-like, blueish green leaves and a single upright flowering stalk, this distinctive species more closely resembles a yucca plant than its closest relatives in the carrot family (Apiaceae). The Northern rattlesnake-master attracts a steady abundance of diverse pollinators, and its interesting form and texture make it a great garden plant.


The earliest known use of the Northern rattlesnake-master dates back 8,000 years, when prehistoric North Americans used the fiber from its thick leaves to make shoes and sandals. The common name of this species comes from early 18th century accounts of Native Americans applying a root preparation to their hands and arms to protect them while handling rattlesnakes and also brewing a root tea to use as rattlesnake antivenin.


The NCBG and the Garden Club of North Carolina work together to promote the use of native plants in home gardens. Each year since 1982, a showy, native perennial has been chosen and seeds of that wildflower are distributed to interested gardeners. To view a list of the past 34 North Carolina Wildflowers of the Year, visit the Garden’s website.


For a Wildflower of the Year brochure and packet of Northern rattlesnake-master seeds, send a stamped, self-addressed, business envelope with attention to NCWFOY 2016 to North Carolina Botanical Garden, UNC–Chapel Hill, CB 3375, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3375. The brochures and seeds will be available in February.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


About NCBG

The NCBG, part of the University of North Carolina, is a 1,000-acre assemblage of display gardens and natural areas. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, the Garden is nationally known as a center for the study, display, interpretation and conservation of plants. Through its educational, recreational, therapeutic horticulture and research programs, it extends opportunities for connection with nature to people of all abilities and backgrounds. The Garden is open seven days a week and admission is free. More information at


About The Garden Club of North Carolina

The Garden Club of North Carolina includes approximately 265 garden clubs with over 6,500 individual members throughout North Carolina. As a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., this organization is active at national, state, and local levels in promoting gardening and horticulture, environmental improvements in urban areas, and protection of natural resources.


NC Botanical Garden contact: Jennifer Peterson, Communications Manager, (919-962-9457);

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,