Botanical Name: Actaea racemosa (formerly Cimicifuga racemosa)
Plant Family: Buttercup (Ranunculaceae)
Description: Erect perennial 4-6 ft. or more in height. Showy 20-inch flower spikes are held above the leaves. The creamy white flowers, on stalks over 1 inch long, have no petals or sepals, but consist of many stamens surrounding a small conical ovary. Their odor is described as sweetly fetid. Seeds are enclosed in capsules that rattle when ripe. The large leaves are divided into 3 sections, each of which is divided into irregular toothed leaflets with a larger terminal leaflet.
The dark, thick, knobby rhizomes have been used for various medicinal applications since pre-colonial times, and black cohosh is raised commercially to meet the continuing demand.
Growing Conditions: From part shade to full shade. Grows in rich, moist soil on wooded slopes.
Bloom Time: Mid, Jun - Jul
Bloom Color: White
Benefit to pollinators/wildlife: Host to Appalachian blue and spring azure butterfly. Attractive to moths.
Native Status: Native over most of the Eastern US.
Location in habitat: Woodland Garden