"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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September Spawns White Snakeroot
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres

Although Midwestern states, including Indiana, are best known for waves of goldenrod when the sun starts its southward trek, damp, shaded spots are now ablaze in white . . . meet white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum).

White snakeroot plant imageThis member of the flat-topped cluster set of which there are many, occurs from the lower parts of the middle and eastern Canadian provinces southward. In Hoosierland it holds full sway at this time of year, especially at the edges of thickets and damp woodlands where the earth holds good moisture in the fall.

If you are wondering about the nomenclature of white snakeroot, washing the earth away from the root system of the plant will give you some clues . . . The roots are made up of a ball of many snake-like, cream-colored fibers several inches long. Size and age of the plant seems to determined length and diameter of the twine-like roots, which unlike the roots of other plants, are not branched, but snake-like. The root system of a large, mature plant usually is no larger than a tennis ball.

This is the root system of white snakeroot.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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