White Snakeroot

(Eupatorium rugosum)

White snakeroot is poisonous to horses.

Plant Description

Each white snakeroot plant is between 2 and 3 feet tall, with small clusters of approximately 8 to 30 small white flowers on the heads.

Geographic Locations

Snakeroot is found throughout the midwestern and eastern United States. It is usually found in forests with rich soils, or in the areas between forests and croplands.

Toxic Plant Components

The entire snakeroot plant is poisonous, whether it is fresh or dried. This means that it can cause problems if it is accidentally baled into hay, as well as being consumed fresh.

Toxicity Cause and Symptoms

Toxic reactions can be caused quickly by a large amount of snakeroot being consumed at one time, or be a delayed reaction caused by small amounts being eaten over a long time period.

Symptoms of snakeroot poisoning include:

  • Severe depression
  • Weakness
  • Congestive Heart Failure (jugular pulse, rapid heart beat, etc.)
  • Liver failure

Symptoms usually do not appear for a few days, and death can occur within 3 to 14 days.

Cure and Treatment

Treatment is supportive in nature, as well as symptomatic, treating symptoms as they appear. The big symptoms that will usually need care are heart and liver failure.


Snakeroot can be a difficult plant to get rid of, but the best way to get rid of it is pull it up and burn it. Pesticides do not work extremely well on it, usually doing more harm to desireable plants than the snakeroot.

The best time of the year to pull the plants up and burn them in the mid-west is during September, when the plant is flowered out and can easily be spotted.


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