Return to the Herbalism Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Bee Balm or Snakeroot?

Posted by eibren z6PA (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 31, 10 at 21:07

In the plantings in front of my house, I made it a point to establish a little patch of Bee Balm so I could occasionally have some for tea.

At about the same time that the Bee Balm was planted, I began to notice what I thought to be a volunteer patch of wild asters, with tiny white flowers, growing under a tree nearby. They made a nice display in the fall, so I let them be.

After a few seasons, the volunteers drifted over into the flower area, and I began to realize that some of my "Bee Balm" no longer had a bee balm fragrance. Comparing the plants with those where my "wild asters" grew, I realized that some of those plants were trying to take over my Bee Balm spot, and, in their Spring phase of growth, looked quite similar, at least to the naked eye, to Bee Balm.

Investigating further, I found that my innocent looking "wild asters" were actually, in all probability, Snakeroot, which is known to be toxic to livestock, and responsible for toxicity in milk if dairy cows graze upon it.

Since both plants appear to enjoy the same habitats and can look quite similar to each other in the Spring, this might be something to watch out for.

I am unaware of any therapeutic uses for Snakeroot; possibly it could have potential for environmental vermin control, but I don't know what the risks of even that might be. I assumed that, initially, birds had dropped the seed under the tree, which would imply that they use the plant as a food source. I don't think as great a number of the plants would have grown in that spot simultaneously if carried in by air currents. Squirrels climb up and down that tree all the time and have not seemed bothered by it.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Bee Balm or Snakeroot?

Since you are in PA, I would suggest picking up a copy of Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. If you are not well acquainted with the wild flowering plants of your area it will be invaluable to you.

By snakeroot I assume you mean white snakeroot Ageratina altissima or as I still know it Eupatorium rugosum. It looks very different than asters since asters have distinct daisy-like flowers. Not so with Ageratina altissima or any of the Eupatoriums. See link.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Google images - White Snakeroot


 o
RE: Bee Balm or Snakeroot?

Thank you, Fata, those px do look like it.

I have several wildflower guides but I don't think Newcomb's is among them. Will keep my eyes open for it.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Herbalism Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here