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Muller, Thomas L.
Actaea racemosa var. racemosa L.
Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candles
Synonyms: Cimicifuga racemosa
USDA Symbol: ACRAR
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A large, bush-like plant, 3-6 ft. tall, with compound, toothed leaves and long candles of tiny, white, fuzzy flowers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Size Notes:
3 to 8 feet tall Flower:
Flowers in 6 to 24 inch spikes
Tan Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Blooms for 2 to 3 weeks, beginning in May near the coast and in June in the mountains.
AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV Canada: ON
, QC Native Distribution:
W. MA to s. Ont. & WI, s. to GA & n. AR; escaped in n. & e. New England; Coastal plain to 4000 ft in mountains. Zones 5 to 7 Native Habitat:
Rich woods & woodland openings USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moderately acid, humus-rich loam. Can grow in acid over lime.
Conditions Comments: Best light is an hour or 2 of morning sun.
White summer flowers for shady spots. Use Medicinal:
The bad odour of this plant is repellent to bugs, which accounts for the common and genus
name. The root was used in the 1800s to treat various conditions, ranging from snakebite and lung inflammations, to the pains of childbirth. (Niering) Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Actaea racemosa var. racemosa
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by division in spring or fall or plant seeds outside in fall. Seedlings take one or two years to germinate; three or four years to flower.
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: mid Sep. to late Oct.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2012-12-06
Research By: TWC Staff