Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)


Other common names for this plant are Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Bugwort, Rattleroot, and Rattleweed.  The Cherokee made a tea from the leaves to treat colds and headaches and also to increase perspiration to reduce fever.  It was also used as a snakebite treatment.

This plant is in the Buttercup family and is a perennial reaching 4 to 6 feet tall.   It shows white blooms in June or early July and prefers part to full shade.    It is usually goes dormant by Mid-September.    It grows best in average, medium most soils.  Small, numerous, creamy white, fragrant flowers appear in summer in long fluffy spires rising above the foliage on wiry stems.   The foliage of this plant is an attractive deep green.

The common name Bugbane is in reference to the strong odor which serves as an insect repellent.  Cohosh comes from the Algonquin word meaning rough in reference to the appearance of the plant’s rhizomes (roots).

This is a beautiful plant for a woodland garden.   The photo was taken at the Cherokee Garden in Cobb County Georgia.


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