‘White Snakeroot’ is a highly invasive plant seemingly new to our area. BE ON THE LOOKOUT! The Arboretum said they have a lot of samples coming in to be identified, and it seems to be spreading rapidly. It will take over a property if left unchecked!
White snakeroot is an erect, branched plant usually about 3 feet tall but varying from 1 to 5 feet. It has slender, round stems and branches bearing pointed, oval, oppositely placed leaves. These leaves are 3 to 5 inches long and are sharply toothed on the margins resembling the ‘teeth’ on a saw. Each leaf has 3 main veins that show prominently on the underside. The roots are fibrous, coarse, and shallow. Google the plant for close up photos if you are in doubt.
Eradication of white snakeroot is not easy. Chemical weed-killers cannot be used satisfactorily because they endanger trees and other plants. The best way to reduce the number of the plants is to pull them out by the roots and dispose of them. The best time to do this is in September, when the plants are more easily identified by their white blossoms. If the plants are pulled after a hard rain while the ground is soft, the shallow roots come out more easily. If they don’t, you will need the help of a shovel to loosen the soil as you pull.