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Actaea racemosa (Black cohosh, Black snakeroot, Bugbane)

Actaea racemosa Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Actaea racemosa ak-TAY-ah rass-ih-MOE-sah Common Name: Black cohosh, Black snakeroot, Bugbane Synonyms: Cimicifuga racemosa Genus: Actaea
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 characteristics: Two-foot-tall racemes of white, bottlebrush flowers. Native to eastern North America.
Care: Moist, fertile, organically rich soil in partial shade. Provide support if necessary.
Propagation: Divide in spring, or sow seed as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Seeds will germinate the following spring.
Problems: Relatively trouble-free, but can be affected by rust, tarnished plant bug, and other leaf-feeding insects.
Height 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit Clumps
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Part Shade Only
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Native; Showy Flowers
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Waterside
Style Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest Summer Interest
Type Perennials

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