White Snakeroot

Ageratina altissima


Other Names:
Richweed, White Sanicle, Tall Boneset

White Snakeroot is a native perennial herb found in much of Virginia. It gets its name because the roots were believed by some to cure snakebites. The nectar of the flowers attracts numerous insects, and the caterpillars of some moths feed on the leaves. White Snakeroot contains trematol, an alcohol that is toxic to humans. If cows eat a lot of it, they can get a disease that leads to death. If they are lactating, they can pass the disease to humans through their milk, with fatal consequences. Abraham Lincoln's mother died of the disease when he was 9 years old.

Identification Tools

Illinois Wildflowers Friends of the Wildflower Garden Go Botany


North America Virginia

White Snakeroot
A patch of White Snakeroot in bloom

White Snakeroot
A couple plants in bloom

White Snakeroot
Close-up of flowers

White Snakeroot
Beginning of autumn yellowing

White Snakeroot
Flowers going to seed in autumn

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