White rattlesnakeroot

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Prenanthes alba L.; also Nabalus albus (L.) Hook.

Common name(s): white rattlesnakeroot, white rattlesnake-root, white lettuce, lion’s-foot

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– biennial

-leaves are:

  • variable
  • alternate
  • simple towards the top
  • hairy

-flower head is 1/2 ” wide

-blooms August- September

– may be confused with P. altissima (tall rattlesnakeroot); P. alba has 8 primary bracts, P. altissima has 5. May also be confused with several other species; see NPIN Profile and Go Botany for details




-rocky soils



Department of Botany. “ Prenanthes Alba L.” Online Virtual Flora of Wisconsin , Wisconsin State Herbarium, wisflora.herbarium.wisc.edu/taxa/index.php?taxon=4669.