Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Tall Rattlesnakeroot (Tall White Lettuce) (Prenanthes altissima): Images

Date Location Notes Images
August 25, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire It is very difficult for me to tell the difference between Tall Rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes altissima) (this plant) and Gall of the Earth (Prenanthes trifoliolata). The way that some tell the difference is to count the number of primary bracts outside of the flower. If there are only five (5) primary bracts, then it is Tall Rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes altissima). Gall of the Earth (Prenanthes trifoliolata) will have eight (8) or more primary bracts. But here is the problem, what the %@!*!*@*(! is a primary bract?! There are very short bracts at the base of the flower, but there are also bracts that run along the whole length of the flower. In addition, some of these bracts overlap and some appear to be partially or mostly beneath the other bracts. So I do not know how to tell exactly which are primary bracts.

The book, Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada calls these bracts, principal bracts and states that Gall of the Earth (Prenanthes trifoliolata) will have 7-9 (usually 8) bracts and Tall Rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes altissima) will have 4-6 (usually 5) bracts. In addition, Gall of the Earth will average 9-13 flowers in a loose panicle clusters while Tall Rattlesnakeroot will have 5-6 flowers in a cluster (usually having some axillary clusters).
Date Location Notes Images
September 14, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire