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Actaea racemosa AGM

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© RHS 1999

Characteristics

Plant type

Bog or Herbaceous Perennial

Habit

Clump-forming

Resilience

Hardiness

H7 (very hardy)

Colour

Flower

White in Summer

Foliage

Green in Autumn, Spring and Summer

Fruit

Pale Brown in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

1-1.5 metres

Ultimate spread

0.1-0.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

2-5 years


Preferred common name

cohosh bugbane

Family

Ranunculaceae


Actaea are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with compound leaves and small creamy-white flowers in short, erect, simple or branched terminal racemes, followed either by poisonous red, black or white berries, or by star-shaped clustered brown follicles

A. racemosa is a perennial to 1.5m, with long, branched, bottlebrush-like racemes of small, white flowers carried well above the bright green, divided leaves, and followed by dry brown follicles

Other common names

  • black cohosh
  • black snakeroot
  • bugbane
  • deerweed
  • feather wands
  • rattleroot
  • rattlesnake weed
  • rattleweed
  • squaw root
  • summer rockets
  • swan's neck
  • Virginia snakeroot

Synonym(s)

  • Cimicifuga racemosa
  • Cimicifuga racemosa var. racemosa

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Part shade

Aspect

  • East-facing, West-facing or North-facing
  • Sheltered

Cultivation

Grow in cool, moist, moderately fertile soil, enriched with organic matter. Water thoroughly in dry weather.

Soil

  • Moist but well-drained or Poorly-drained
  • Acid, Alkaline or Neutral
  • Clay or Loam

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame in autumn or by division in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds or Wildflower meadow


How to care

Pruning

Cut back after flowering or fruiting

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free