The Native Plant Store can Now be Found Here

  • This page will remain accessible as a library page until I have all the species moved to the new page and all the quirks worked out in the new software so it can function as a searchable library.
  • Please see the Using the Plant Library  page  for some tips on how to make the most of the information in this existing library to select species for creating a healthy native plant community suited to the conditions of your site.

Actaea racemosa, Black Snakeroot

Actaea racemosa previously Cimicifuga racemosa 

Black Snakeroot or Bugbane or Black Cohosh 

  • Average to moderately wet soils, prefers rich, woodland soil
  • Partial to full shade, will grow well in sun with consistent moisture
  • 4’ to 7’ tall, 2’ to 3’ wide
  • Summer Blooms
  • Ontario Native, Thrives in Woodlands and Forests

A plant of many names and much mislabeling and multiple, commonly used, common names, including Black Baneberry and Black Cohosh. On the botanical classification side, these were previously referenced as Cimicifuga but their genus is now, officially, Actaea.

But the confusion doesn’t end there.

Many, many of the purple leaved cultivars of Actaea can be found listed as being cultivars of racemosa. Even today a Google search by cultivar name can often come us with results that indicate that cultivars like Hillside Black Beauty and Burnette are Actaea racemosa, a species native to the north east.

But further digging, especially on sites more concerned with keeping botanical information up to date, now list these cultivars as being part of the Actaea simplex (Atropurpurea Group). Actaea simplex’s native range extends through a large swath of Asia.

Summer blooming, rather than fall blooming like their Asian relatives, Black Snakeroot grow to between 4’ and 6’ in height and roughly 2’ to 4’ in width. Started from seed a few years ago, these are relatively slow to mature so the ones in my garden are still growing and are closer just reached 4' in height last year.

They like a rich, forest soil and will grow well in full shade but will bloom more abundantly in part sun.

While it has yet to be a concern in my garden, tall plants can be vulnerable to strong winds so, if not protected or supported by their plant community, you may need to provide them with something to lean on to keep the wind from knocking them down.
For those who have the patience to care for these as they slowly mature, these are very tall, elegant additions to the summer woodland garden

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Species that were not sown / aren't being sown for 2023 are marked with an * 
Species that are native to this continent, but not historically native to Ontario are marked with a ~ 
While it rarely comes up, I do reserve the right to limit plant quantities, mostly to help ensure that as many native plant gardens as possible become a reality