Cimicifuga racemosa var. cordifolia (ACTAEA) – APPALACHIAN BUGBANE

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This is a rather rare wildflower, in nature and our yards. No maintenance, sharp looking, architectural, a hardy and tough plant that will brighten your shade corners, woodland edges or even pond or stream banks. The little white flowers are fragrant and composed in long racemes (more than 1.5 feet long), with bright green leaves that remind of maple tree foliage. This is a short-rhizome perennial that spreads very slowly and forms nice strong clumps. It is rather slow to establish (up to 3 years), but is long lived. Bees and butterflies love it. Usually an easy to grow plant in good soils and half shade.

Looks very good combined with smaller-medium sized flowering shrubs like Hydrangea quercifolia, Hydrangea arborescens (or non-native Hydrangea macrophylla); suitable native perennial companions can be Aster (woodland species), Geranium maculatum, Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower), Heliopsis helianthoides, Chelone, Polemonium reptans, Rudbeckia triloba, Senna, Solidago caesia, Verbesina alternifolia, bigger ferns and sedges and other woodland perennials. Good non-native perennial combinations include Astilbe, Astilboides tabularis, Bergenia, Brunnera, Darmera, Geranium, medium to large Hosta, Lilium (some shade tolerant species), Persicaria amplexicaulis, Rodgersia, etc.

The whole plant is toxic, but it has been used in small amounts as a medicinal plant for menopause, menstrual pain, and it has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. It's also known as Cimicifuga cordifolia or Actaea cordifolia, Actaea rubifolia or heart-leaved cohosh; the common name is Black Snakeroot. Known since 1805 after being discovered by Frederick Pursh (German-American botanist) in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.

Blooming Time: July to September
Size: 4’- 5’ high x 2’ wide (can reach up to 6’ high and 4’ wide)
USDA Zones: 4 to 8
Culture: grows best in half-sun (if it has enough moisture), half shade, dappled shade, light shade, and good rich soil with some organic material as well as heavier soils, and woodland soil. Soil can be mildly acidic, neutral or mildly alkaline.
Moisture Needs: medium-moist, moist; once established it can handle shorter term droughts, but permanent moisture is the best
Origin: native perennial to Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia and Pennsylvania
Deer/Rabbit Resistant: yes/yes
Attracts Butterflies or Pollinators: butterflies and native bees
Attracts Hummingbirds: no
Pot Size: 3.5" x 4" perennial pot (1.22 pt/580 ml)