South Dakota Native Plant Research
Asteraceae : Ageratina altissima

Asteraceae : Ageratina altissima


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Family Name


Common Name

White snakeroot, Spotted joe-pyeweed

Native American Name

waȟčá pȟepȟéla


Ageratina altissima is a perennial herb, arising from a fibrous. creeping rootstock, growing from 0.4 m to 1.5 m in height. The stems are variously purple spotted to uniformly purple. The leaves are simple, in whorls of 3-6, short-petioled, the blades lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, serrate. The inflorescence is a flattened cyme, and the flowers are in heads. The involucral bracts are imbricate obtuse and purplish. Flowers are white, light pink to purple and bloom from July to September. Fruits are achenes. White snakeroot is found in wet meadows, stream and pond margins, springs, and boggy places. This species is commonly found at low to mid elevations in the Black Hills.

Additional Notes

The common name comes from Native American tribes using the roots to treat snake bites. The plants are toxic if eaten. The flowers attract butterflies, and the plants are tolerant of deer.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Pick dried heads in late fall.

Germination: Plant in fall and let seeds over-winter to break dormancy.

Soils: medium to wet soils

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Asteraceae : Ageratina altissima