Virginia snakeroot

Origin of Virginia snakeroot

An Americanism dating back to 1685–95


[sneyk-root, -roo t]
  1. any of various plants whose roots have been regarded as a remedy for snakebites, as the herb Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot), having a medicinal rhizome and rootlets, and the white-flowered Polygala senega (Seneca snakeroot), having a medicinal root.
  2. the root or rhizome of such a plant.
  3. the North American bugbane.
  4. a white eupatorium, Eupatorium rugosum.
  5. a plant, Rauwolfia serpentina (or Rauvolfia serpentina), whose roots are the source of reserpine and other drugs.

Origin of snakeroot

First recorded in 1625–35; snake + root1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for virginia snakeroot


  1. any of various North American plants, such as Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot) and Eupatorium urticaefolium (white snakeroot), the roots or rhizomes of which have been used as a remedy for snakebite
  2. the rhizome or root of any such plant
  3. another name for bistort (def. 1), bistort (def. 2)
Also called: snakeweed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012