Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tall Rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes altissima)

September 15th, 2012. We drove over Patterson Gap Road from Betty’s Creek Road to Persimmon Road. Patterson Gap lies on the Tennessee Valley Divide in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The road is graveled and water erosion has produced some rough sections.

Our first find was Lobelia siphilitca (Great Blue Lobelia). Further up the road – at about 2,900 ft asl - we started to see gentians. We spotted Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian) and Gentiana quinquefolia (Stiff Gentian) further up the road. Near the top of the pass, we found a blazing star that we’ve tentatively identified as Liatris squarrulosa (Southern Blazing Star).

I walked along the road a little further and found this Prenanthes species that I’ve tentatively identified as Prenanthes trifoliata (Gsll of the Earth) based on the deeply indented leaves. Otherwise I would have identified it as Prenanthes altissima (Tall Rattlesnakeroot).
Note: Thanks to A. L. Gibson at 'The Natural Treasures of Ohio' for correcting my identification and identifying this as Prenanthes altissima (Tall Rattlesnakeroot). Thanks Andrew!

A cluster of flowers

Still closer views of the flowers

The leaves. Not the clearest but showing deeply indented leaves

Prenanthes altissima (Tall Rattlesnakeroot, Tall White Lettuce) is native to the United States  where it’s found in from Maine to Illinois and southwest to Texas and south to Georgia. In Georgia, it’s only been documented only in a few counties in the Piedmont.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification Resources:

- J. Pippen, Duke University: Gall of the Earth (Prenanthes trifoliata)

United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: 
- Prenanthes altissima (Tall Rattlesnakeroot)
Prenanthes trifoliata (Gall of the Earth)

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Andrew Lane Gibson said...

I would say you have your other guess of Prenanthes altissima pictured here. I've seen both species and yours immediately stood out as P. altissima to me based on color and overall appearance.

JSK said...

Thanks Andrew!
That was my first thought when I saw the flowers and then I saw the leaves. I'll correct this. Wildflowers are so annoying :-)