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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The Online Plant Nursery will re-open for orders on Tuesday, May 17th

Pickups will begin the following week.

I will be offering plug sized plants for $1.25 each or 5 for $5. 

I'm in the process of adding species that I expect to offer this spring to the listings since they are starting to germinate and I'm starting to get an idea of which will be available in abundant quantities.

Since the list is much longer this year I've added several categories to help narrow down your options based on a variety of criteria.

For those who have already adopted seedlings, planting instructions can be found here.