FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa

Actaea racemosa L. var. racemosa

Cimicifuga racemosa (L.) Nutt.

Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candles

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusActaeaFrom ancient Greek, signifying a wet habitat and its leaves’ similarity to Sambucus leaves
SpeciesracemosaLatin for “has a raceme,” or flower spike (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
var.racemosaLatin for “has a raceme,” or flower spike (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)

About plant names...

Many common names of black cohosh include “bugbane,” since the unpleasant-smelling flowers tend to repel insects. This is a North American native. What’s a cohosh? A native American word for rough—a reference to the bumpy roots. See also the unrelated plant blue cohosh.

Identification: Plants are 3-6' (91-182 cm) tall, rarely to 9' (2.7 m); and fast-growing. Leaves are toothed, irregular in shape, in roughly triangular clusters tipped by a larger three-lobed leaflets. Leaflets are 1-4" (3-10 cm) long. The ill-smelling flowers form long, attractive, feathery-looking spikes 6-24" (15-60 cm) long—hence the name “fairy candles.” Individual flowers have 4-5 sepals and are about ⅜" (9.5 mm) in diameter. Fruits are ⅛-¼" (6-9 mm) long, thick, and leathery.

 

Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candles)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candles)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candles)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Some similar plants:

 
Actaea racemosa
You are here
Actaea racemosa var. racemosa

Actaea rubifolia
Common Name

Black Snakeroot

Black Cohosh

Appalachian Bugbane
Plant Plants reach 10-24" (25-60 cm). Plants are 3-6' (91-182 cm) tall, rarely to 9' (2.7 m); and fast-growing. Plants are 12-55" (30-140 cm) tall.
Flowers White flowers form on tall stalks up to 8' (2.5 m) in height, with the flowering portions up to 20" (50 cm) tall.

Long, attractive, feathery-looking spikes 6-24" (15-60 cm) long. Individual flowers have 4-5 sepals and are about ⅜" (9.5 mm) in diameter. White flowers form long, attractive, feathery-looking spikes 6-24" (15-60 cm) long, straight or slightly curved. Individual flowers have 5 sepals and are about ⅜" (9.5 mm) in diameter.
Leaves Leaves often occur in groups of three, on thin stems, and are saw-toothed. Toothed, irregular in shape, in roughly triangular clusters tipped by a larger three-lobed leaflets. Leaflets are 1-4" (3-10 cm) long. Toothed, shaped like maple leaves. Leaflets are 6-12" (15-30 cm) long.
Fruit Black or dark brown seeds. Fruits are ⅛-¼" (6-9 mm) long, thick, and leathery. Fruits are ⅛" (3 mm) around, and reddish brown.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Rich soils in moist woods, ravines Rich, moist deciduous woods  
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Common Endangered in IL and MA Endangered

 

 
Sanicula canadensis
Common Name

Canadian Black Snakeroot
Plant Plants are 12-24" (30-60 cm) high. Stems are light green, sometimes furrowed.
Flowers Small clusters, greenish-white, not especially interesting.
Leaves In groups of three, and are less than 3" (7.6 cm) long.
Fruit Seed pods are about ½" (1.3 cm) in diameter, and resemble burrs, with small hooks.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Rich woods, open rocky woods, thickets
Type Wild
Occurrence Common

 

Medical: Native Americans used extracts of this plant as analgesics, sedatives, or anti inflammatory drugs; for example, in the treatment of snake bites. Black cohosh is used by some today to relieve menopausal symptoms, but there are no rigorous studies to support this. See HerbMed for information on clinical studies of black cohosh.

Online References:

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa at the Plants of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa on Discover Life

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa at Lucas Land: The Wildflowers of Highland and Bath Counties, Virginia

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa on www.frostburg.edu

Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candles)

7/17/2010 · Stan and Connie’s, Falmouth, ME
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Oct 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Range:

About this map...