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Polygala senega L.

Figure 94.—Seneca-snakeroot (Polygala senega)
Other common names.—Senega snakeroot, Seneca root, rattlesnake-root, mountain flax.

Habitat and range.—This native p]ant is found in rocky woods and hillsides from New Brunswick and western New England to Minnesota and the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and south along the Allegheny Mountains to North Carolina and west to Missouri.

Description.—The root of this plant sends up a number of smooth, slender, erect stems (as many as 15 or 20 or more), sometimes slightly tinged with red, from 6 inches to a foot in height, and generally unbranched. The lance-shaped, stemless leaves are thin in texture and from 1 to 2 inches long. The flowering spikes are borne in May and June on the ends of the stems and consist of rather crowded, small whitish, insignificant flowers. The lower flowers develop first and have already fruited when the upper flowers open.

A modified form of Seneca-snakeroot occurring in the North Central States is distinguished by its taller stems and broader leaves.

Part used.—The root, collected in autumn.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, April 3, 1998 by aw