Rattlesnake-master at Betty Sutherland Trail: July 2020

It is always exciting to come across a plant that I am unfamiliar with. I take photos, study every feature and then rush home to leaf through field guides.

On this day, I found an unknown plant (to me) which turned out to be Rattlesnake-master.

Rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Some Native Americans used its root as an antidote for rattlesnake venom.

Rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Eryngium yuccifolium (the leaves resemble yucca leaves) grows in wet meadows and open borders of marshes and swamps.

Betty Sutherland Trail runs alongside the East Don River just south of Highway 401 and west of Don Mills road.

Highway 401 bridge

Betty Sutherland served 13 years as an elected representative of the former North York Council until her retirement from politics in 1985. From 1979 to 1985, Mrs. Sutherland was a member of the former Metropolitan Toronto Council and the the former Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Some botany:

Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Hedge-parsley (Torilis japonica)
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Curled Dock (Rumex crispus)
Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus)
Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica ) Berries can be orange or red
Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica ) Berries can be orange or red
Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus inserta)
Crown Vetch (Securigera varia)
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
St. John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Canada Thistle (Cirsium pratense)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea stoebe)
Enchanter’s-nightshade (Circaea canadensis)
Evening-primrose (Oenothera)
Purple Loosestrtife (Lythrum salicaria)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Highbush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus)
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Elecampane (Inula helenium)
Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Other life:

Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Cabbage White Butterfly
Cabbage White Butterfly
Red Soldier Beetle in Wild Parsnip
 Faint-spotted Angle Moth
Two-striped Grasshopper
Acadian Hairstreak Butterfly
 Forage Looper Moth
Gypsy Moths
American Goldfinch (male)
Late Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) with  Shining Flower Beetles

Thanks to Ken Sproule for assistance in insect identification.


Can we learn wisdom watching insects now,
or just the art of quiet observation?
Creatures from the world of leaf and flower
marking weather’s variation.                         – Vivian Smith (b. 1933)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Rattlesnake-master at Betty Sutherland Trail: July 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Another wonderful place, with beautiful (and unexpected!) flowers, insects, and (cue drum roll)–one very beautiful bird! Thanks, Miles!


    Rattlesnake-master- Excellent Miles – you are a true life-long learner rushing home to consult the guidebooks. You pass this enthusiasm along to your students.


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