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American Bugbane

Cimicifuga racemosa

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American Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa) at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses

Cimicifuga racemosa in bloom

Cimicifuga racemosa in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  5 feet

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3a

Other Names:  Black Snakeroot, Black Cohosh, Actaea racemosa

Ornamental Features

American Bugbane features bold spikes of fragrant white flowers rising above the foliage from mid to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive serrated compound leaves emerge burgundy in spring, turning dark green in color with prominent deep purple tips throughout the season. The brown fruits are carried on spikes from late summer to late winter.

Landscape Attributes

American Bugbane is an herbaceous perennial with tall flower stalks held atop a low mound of foliage. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It has no significant negative characteristics.

American Bugbane is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

American Bugbane will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 5 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Garden  Naturalizing 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features