Prenanthes alba

Lion's Foot

$3.00 - $8.50

1/8 oz.

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

3 Pack
Out of Stock

Lion’s Foot is named for one of its many of foliage expressions: a deeply tri-lobed leaf with rounded edges which looks vaguely like a lion paw (see photo).  This plant showcases a wide array of leaf variability, but consistently displays large leaves at the base and smaller leaves near the top.  Clusters of pale green flower buds form in the leaf axils and at the top of the stem.  The robust stems are sometimes mottled with purple or showcase a rich burgundy color.  The buds extend and droop from their stems in summer to form tubular dusty rose and lavender blossoms.  These flowers pop open throughout the fall months, exserting mauve stamens and flaring their white petals.  Once fertilized, these close again to shield the seed being formed within.  The ripe seedheads burst open with a wild coppery halo of pappus, looking quite a bit like a lion’s mane; maybe we should adjust the name! 

Prenanthes alba operates as either a biennial or perennial plant.  It flourishes in dappled shade and medium-moisture soils.  This plant can grow to 4 feet tall when it is in an ideal site; less optimal conditions such as deep shade or very dry soil may stunt the overall height of Lion’s Foot.  Exceedingly hot, dry weather may push this species into an early dormancy.    

Bumblebees, other native bees, beetles, and moths will frequent this fascinating plant.     
The milky latex was historically used as a topical antidote for rattlesnake bites.

Also commonly known as White Lettuce or Rattlesnakeroot.
Other scientific names in use: Nabalus albus

Live Plant Shipping

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots April/May October
Potted 3-Packs May/June September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots

Prenanthes alba - Lion's Foot

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

3 Questions asked on Prenanthes alba

Is this plant suitable for a smaller garden or a container?
HI Clara. Yes, in a smaller garden; it is not aggressive.  No, in a container. Note the root photo on this product page. The tap root develops quickly - the photo is from a 1 or 2 year old root, started from seed, so it won't be happy for a long, even in a deeper pot.
Would Lion's Foot like somewhat dappled morning sun, dry soil? shade the rest of the day...thanks.
Hi Rebecca. Lion's Foot will do well spending most of the day in shade along with some dappled morning sun. Although this species acclimates to various soil moisture levels, it may struggle in continuously dry sites. Apply mulch, leaf litter, or compost to help retain moisture.
I read somewhere that this plant chokes out Japanese stiltgrass. Is this true and is it deer resistant?
Hi Susan. Lion's Foot is not likely to outcompete Japanese Stiltgrass, especially if that invasive species is already established on the site. If the Stiltgrass is removed, it is possible a more aggressive species like Ostrich Fern could keep it at bay. This rigorous fern species is also deer resistant!


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Biennial, Perennial
Sun Exposure
Partial, Shade
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry
4 feet
Bloom Time
August, September, October
Bloom Color
White, Purple
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code