Index- plants in this Family
Agavaceae / Agavae
False Aloe (Manfreda virginica)
False Aloe is also known as Rattlesnake Master..

Plant Type: This is a succulent, it is a perennial which can reach 183cm in height (72inches).
Leaves: This plant has basal leaves only. Each leaf is entire and suculent. Most emerge at the base but a few are on the lower stem.
Flowers: The flowers have 6 Regular Parts and are up to 3cm long (1.25 inches). They are green. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into late summer. The flowers are very un-showy having no petals or any color other than the same green as the stem except for a white stigma with three lobes.
Fruit: A roundish pod that rattles with loose seeds when mature.
Habitat: Dry rocky areas.
Range: All of the eastern states as far north as Kentucky.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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Botanist have moved this plant around in classification from the Amaryllidacae family to the Agave family and it has been placed in several genera including Polianthes, Allibertia and Agave. You can check the links in 'More info' below for complete lists of Synonyms.

This plant can be locally abundant and is one of the plants found in the cedar glades of Middle Tennessee. The vernacular name Rattlesnake master may come from it's use to treat snakebite or the rattle the seeds make in their pods.(Hemmerly)

Medical Uses: Native Americans used the root of this plant for a few conditions such as dropsy and, as with so many other plants, snake bite. I know of no evidence to validate any medical use.

See the links below this image for other images. (1)

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False Aloe (Manfreda virginica) - close view of flower  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf



Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 8/10/2009 6:00:48 PM. (Viewed date from local machine.)
© 1999-2009 Daniel W. Reed
File date-10-Aug-09