Apiaceae / Carota
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Lore: The trader James Adair spent years among the Chickasaw in the 18th century and wrote about their use of this species. He reported witnessing a shaman spit chewed root on his hands and then safely take up a rattlesnake. Adair and others reported many medical and ceremonial uses of this plant by Native Americans ranging from the treating of venereal disease, snake bite, worms and impotence. It was tried by white physicians into the 19th century but no evidence has been found to support any of these uses and the plant fell into disuse. (Dobelis) (Foster & Duke)
Medical Uses: Though there is no evidence to support the traditional uses of this species it may have some value it treating inflammations and malaria. The closely related European species Sea-Holly (Eryngium maritimum) has long been thought medicinal. The roots were candied and used as a diuretic, expectorant, stimulant and to treat coughs, consumption and nervous disorders. (Dobelis) (Rickett) (Foster & Duke) (Grieve)
Species: The parallel veins of the leaves distinguish this from other similar Eryngiums.
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.
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
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves