Lizard's Tail

Scientific Name(s): Saururus cernuus
Abundance: uncommon
What: roots, leaves
How: tea
Where: moist areas, edge of water.
When: spring, summer, fall
Nutritional Value: none

Medicinal Summary:
Roots - sedative; pain relief; wound healing (tisane)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are heart-shaped (cordate) with a length of approximately 4 to 8 inches and a width of 3 to 6 inches.

Leaf Venation: The venation is prominently palmate, radiating from the base of the leaf like the fingers of a hand.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is smooth (entire) with no serrations.

Leaf Color: The upper side of the leaves is typically medium to dark green, while the underside may have a paler hue.

Flower Structure: The flowers are arranged in a spike-like cluster, known as a raceme, located at the tip of a drooping (cernuus) stem. Each flower is small, with a diameter of about 0.2 to 0.3 inches, and has no distinct petals but rather white to greenish sepals.

Flower Color: The flowers are usually white or cream-colored.

Fruit: The fruit is a small, elongated capsule.

Seed: Seeds are tiny, ovoid, and brown.

Stem: The stems are erect, slender, and may have a reddish tint. They bear the raceme of flowers at the top.

Hairs: The plant is generally hair-free but the flower spikes may feel slightly fuzzy while still immature and green.

Height: Saururus cernuus typically grows to a height of 1 to 3 feet, with the flowering spike extending above the foliage.

Bed of Lizard's Tail plants.


Close-up of leaf.
Lizard's Tail

Lizard's Tail flower stalk before flowers develop.

Lizard's Tail flowerhead and leaves.

The rhizome roots of Lizard's Tail.
Lizard's Tail

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Look for Lizard's Tail lining the banks of shaded Texas ponds beginning in the late winter and lasting until mid-fall. The "tails" show up in late April, blossoms in May, and are gone by July. The root can be gathered any time of year.

It has no edible/nutritional value but its roots have a long history of being used medicinally as a tea, which has both sedative and some pain-relieving properties. A wash made from boiled roots was used as a surface wash for rheumatism. Also, a paste of boiled then mashed roots was applied the sore, chapped breasts of nursing mothers and to heal flesh wounds.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

Privacy & Amazon Paid Promotion Statement

I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. The prices you pay for the item isn't affected, my sales commission comes out of Amazon's pocket.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.