Black Cohosh


Black Cohosh

Common Name: Black Cohosh, Snakeroot

Scientific Name: Cimicifuga racemosa

Description: Hardy, herbaceous North American perennial; tall spires of snow-white blossoms in early summer tower above the rich, large, dark green foliage

Size: Flower stalks grow 5 to 6 feet high; 3 feet wide

Cultural Information: Prefers shade but tolerates some sun; rich, woodsy, well-prepared garden loam and mulch; plant crowns just below soil surface

USDA Zones: 3 through 9

Historical Notes: Black cohosh, or snakeroot, has been grown in American gardens since the late 18th century. Thomas Lamboll sent snakeroot to Philadelphia nurseryman and plant explorer William Bartram during the late 1700s, and one is believed to be this species. Black cohosh is a long-lived perennial that will slowly increase in size for many years and not require dividing. The lacy foliage forms an attractive mound in the flower border or woodland garden. Historically, black cohosh was used for treating a variety of disorders such as malaria, rheumatism, and malaise.[1]

Thomas Jefferson cites Actaea racemosa in his Notes on the State of Virginia as "Black snake-root."[2]

Text from Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.

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