Botanical Name: Ageratina altissima
Species: A. altissima
Synonyms: Eupatorium ageratoides. E. rugosum. E. urticaefolium,
Common Names: Snakeroot, Richweed, or White sanicle
Habitat:Ageratina altissima is native to eastern and central North America. It grows on Low woods in river valleys in Texas.
Ageratina altissima is a perennial plant, It is upright or sometimes ascending, growing to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) tall, producing single or multi-stemmed clumps in mid to late summer and fall. Leaves are egg shaped to lanceolate, up to 5x as long as wide, with a long tapered tip, rounded base, oppositely arranged, coarsely toothed and on a long stalk (over 3/4 inch). Lower leaves may have a heart-shaped base. Upper stem leaves are more lanceolate with a tapered base to the stalk. Upper leaf surfaces are usually hairless, the underside is paler in color and can have whitish hair on the ribs. Some stem leaves near the floral array may have an alternate arrangement instead of opposite.
Flowers: Each flower cluster is up to 1/2 inch wide when mature and composed of 10 to 30+ flower heads. Each head has a variable number of tubular florets that have 5-parted white corollas with lips that are pointed and spreading when the flower opens. The five stamens with yellow anthers cluster around the base of the style which has a forked stigma and greatly exceeds the length of the corolla. Ray florets are absent. Surrounding the outside of the flowerhead is a series of green phyllaries with pointed tips. The flower heads in each cluster have stalks of varying length so that the top of the cluster appears flat to rounded.
Seed: Fertile florets produce a dark dry oblong 5-ribbed obconic shaped cypsela (like an achene) that has tuffs of fluffy pappus for wind dispersion. Seeds require at least 60 days of cold stratification and then light for germination.
Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade. There is some difference of opinion over the correct name for this species with some authorities using Eupatorium rugosum.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.
Edible Uses: Not known to us.
The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, gravel and urinary diseases. It has also been used in herbal sweat baths to encourage sweating. A decoction or infusion of the root has been taken to treat a fallen or inflamed womb. The root has been chewed and held in the mouth as a treatment for toothache.
Known Hazards: The plant contains tremetol, a complex alcohol, and glycosides. These toxins cause a fatal disease known as ‘staggers’ in cattle. The toxin can be passed through the milk and has caused fatalities in humans who have drunk affected cow’s milk.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.