Actaea racemosa var. racemosa
Actaea racemosa L. var. racemosa
Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candles
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Synonym(s): Cimicifuga racemosa
USDA Symbol: acrar
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Notes: 3 to 8 feet tall
Flower: Flowers in 6 to 24 inch spikes
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
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.
DistributionUSA: 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
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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: 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: yes
Larval Host: Spring Azure
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Actaea racemosa var. racemosa is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Spring Azure |
(Celastrina "ladon" )
Learn more at BAMONA
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
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Amandas Garden - Springwater, NY
Sunlight Gardens - Andersonville, TN
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store
BibliographyBibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Actaea racemosa var. racemosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Actaea racemosa var. racemosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Actaea racemosa var. racemosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff