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Eryngium (yuccifolium)

David J. Horvath
Nursery Manager
Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery
17855 N. CR 2400E
Topeka, Illinois 61567
309-535-3286 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Apiaceae
Family Common Name: Carrot family
Scientific Name: Eryngium yuccifolium Michx.
Common Name: Rattlesnake Master
Species Code: ERYYUC
Ecotype: Central Illinois, 650 feet msl elevation
General Distribution: E. yuccifolium is found throughout the eastern United States west to the Great Plains.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Bareroot (field grown)
Stock Type: Bareroot seedlings
Time To Grow: 10 Months
Target Specifications: Height: n/a, herbaceous perennial.<br> Caliper: n/a, herbaceous perennial.<br> Root System: Healthy bareroot system from field grown crop.<br>
Propagule Collection: Seed is collected by hand from nursery stock. The plant flowers from approx. June 10 to July 30. Seed is harvested about August 27.
Propagule Processing: Rattlesnake Master seed size may vary from year to year. It is important to experiment with cleaning techniques so as not to damage seed. We offer two techniques after drying:
1. Run the seed slowly through the Debearder using the middle screen size with the brushes out 1/4 inch. If the Debearder damages the seed, do not continue. Rather, run it through the Dybvig instead. The seed coats need to stay intact or they may dry out in storage. Next, run the seed through the Clipper with a top screen of 9 and a bottom screen of 1/20. Set the clipper fan on low and open the vents 1/2 way.
2. The alternate process is the same for the Debearder. Next, run the seed through the Crippen with a top screen of 10, middle screen of 8, and bottom screen of 1/25. The Crippen settings are as follows:
Shaker motion 1/4 way up from slow. Upper air set 1/3 open. Lower air at 1/4 open. Ratiotrol at 30% feed. Majority of good seed will come the drop at the rear of the machine. However, some larger good seed will come off the middle screen and should be captured from chute #4.
This seed may be cleaned to 85% purity with 9,804 seeds per ounce. Field seed is planted in the fall, therefor is not put into cold storage.
Pre-Planting Treatments: If unable to plant in the fall due to weather, store the seed dry in cold storage at 34-36 degrees F.
Field seed is not damp stratified due to clumping problems during the drilling process.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Field grown in beds.

Propagation Method: Seed sown in 3-4 foot wide, raised beds.
Growing Media: Field grown seed is drilled in 3 or 4 foot wide, raised beds, consisting of a sandy loam.

Total Time to Harvest: Field grown crops take 10-12 months from time of sowing. This figure is increased to 18 months for field grown plants shipped in the spring.
Sowing Date: Field grown crops are sown in the fall once the seed is cleaned.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Field grown seed is drilled with the Love Seeder at a rate of 2.7 ounces per 45 linear feet. Adjust the drill heights so that the seed is covered only 1 times its depth. The beds should be hydroseeded with a cool-season, annual grass to protect seed over the winter months.
Establishment Phase: Field grown plants should be monitored for germination. If the seed has not germinated by the first week of May, there has been a problem, ie, seed not planted at the correct depth, blown away, or bad seed lot. Weed the field grown plants by hand early to prevent competition.
Length of Establishment Phase: 1 month
Active Growth Phase: Field grown plants are topdressed twice, once in May and once in June with 13-13-13 at a rate of 200 lbs. per acre. This is done after the first true leaves appear. The fertilizer is irrigated in after application. Irrigation is run once or twice a week, depending on weather, and run for one to two hours.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 4 months
Hardening Phase: For field grown plants, reduce irrigation to slow the vegetative growth down in the fall.
Length of Hardening Phase: 1 month
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Field grown plants are lifted in late September to early November and again in the Spring if need be.The top growth should be mostly died down. Once this occurs, it is helpful to mow the tops to a more manageable size. This aids in the lifting process.
Plants are undercut at 7-12 inches prior to lifting. While culling and grading is performed, the roots should be misted occasionally.
Storage Conditions: Depending on weather conditions, field grown plants may be lifted and shipped in the fall. However, time and labor may require spring shipment. Field grown stock is also stored in cool, dry storage, above freezing. Remove dead vegetation in the culling process, and place the plants in plastic-lined bags. Do not allow root systems to dry out.

Storage Duration: Approximately 4 to 6 months. Field grown bareroot plants may be shipped at any time as long as the receiver has cold storage.
Length of Storage: 4 to 6 months


Blessman, Gary; Flood, Roberta Mountz; Horvath, David J.. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Bareroot (field grown) Eryngium yuccifolium Michx. plants Bareroot seedlings; Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Mason State Nursery Topeka, Illinois. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/09/30). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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