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The Plant Guide

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Black cohosh

Actaea racemosa

ak-TAY-ah rass-ih-MOE-sah

Actaea racemosa is a native woodland perennial with white, somewhat fuzzy flowers in midsummer that wave above astilbe-like, deeply cut foliage. The flowers can be unpleasantly scented, thus the name "bugbane." Formerly in the genus Cimicifuga, this plant is great for use in a woodland garden or moist border.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsTwo-foot-tall racemes of white, bottlebrush flowers. Native to eastern North America.

CareMoist, fertile, organically rich soil in partial shade. Provide support if necessary.

PropagationDivide in spring, or sow seed as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Seeds will germinate the following spring.

ProblemsRelatively trouble-free, but can be affected by rust, tarnished plant bug, and other leaf-feeding insects.

  • Genus : Actaea
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Light : Partial Shade
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Flower Color : White
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