Actaea racemosa

black bugbane

black cohosh

  • © - Valérie75

  • © Actaea racemosa - H. Zell

Synonyms: Cimicifuga racemosa

Outstanding Qualities

This herbaceous perennial brings an architectural quality to the shade garden with upright flowering spires in late summer to early fall. The white flower spikes top a skirt of lacy green foliage at the base and they are scented. Plant in a shaded part of a mixed border, a woodland garden, or any site with light or open shade.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: upright perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 6 in. (0.76 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: light to open shade

Water Requirements: regular watering

Seasonal Interest: attractive flower spikes in late summer

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Plant Combinations: Aster lateriflorus ‘Prince’, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blaumeise’, Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana

Great Color Contrasts: lavender, purple, pink

Great Color Partners: white, green

Culture Notes
Plant this robust perennial in light to open shade with well-drained soil and regular watering during dry weather. It is tolerant of sandy soils and clay conditions. There are no notable pest or disease problems, and it is resistant to slugs. Cut to the ground in fall once the foliage has started to yellow.
Geek Notes
Native to the eastern United States and Canada.