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"My new favorite plant..."

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

My new favorite plant, rattlesnake master, Eryngium yuccafolium, has the specific name yuccafolium as its linear leaves have small spines and also parallel venation (don’t ask me why but that’s the correct word if talking about the arrangement of veins in a plant). Anyhow, most dicots have branching veins but this is an exception. By collecting these tough long fibrous veins, indigenous people could weave them to make moccasins and baskets, a better use than relying on the sap or root concoctions to treat snake bites. A member of the carrot family, the root is a large storage organ, but I can’t find any references to its having been eaten by people. Some lepidoptera larva use a stem for their larval food supply, this is the sole food for the highly endangered rattlesnake master stem moth.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.