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Ageratina altissima ‘Chocolate’

White snakeroot, tall boneset, white sanicle

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyAsteraceaeThe aster family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers; from the Greek ἀστήρ, “star,” for the star-shaped flowers
SpeciesaltissimaMeans "the highest"
Cultivar‘Chocolate’Named for the darker foliage

About plant names...

White snakeroot is a member of the sprawling aster family, and a North American native. This cultivated variety, 'Chocolate,' has darker-tinted foliage.

Identification: Plants are 3-5′ (91-152 cm) high, and up to 3′ (91 cm) around, with single or multiple stems. Leaves are 2-5″ (5-12 cm) long, lance-shaped, and tapering at both ends; lower leaves are broader, more heart-shaped. Each leaf has three prominent veins and serrated edges. Leaf stems (petioles) are ½-1½″ (1.3-3.8 cm) long. Flowerheads are somewhat dome-shaped clusters, each with 10-30 white brushlike flowers with no petals. Each flower is about ⅛″ (4 mm) around.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones This plant contains tremetol, toxic to people and many animals. Milk from cows that have eaten snakeroot can be poisonous to people as well—this is called milk sickness.

Online References:

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Illinois Wildflowers

Wikipedia (Ageratina altissima)


Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 434 (listed as Eupatorium altissimum)


Ageratina altissima ‘Chocolate’ description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Ageratina altissima (white snakeroot, tall boneset, white sanicle)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 1 × 2′ (41 × 62 cm)

Range: Zones 4a-8b:

About this map...