Black Cohosh

Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga racemosa)


Other Names:
Black Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Fairy Candle

Black Cohosh is a native perennial plant that is common in most of Virginia. In 2017, it was recognized as the Wildflower of the Year by the Virginia Native Plant Society. The scientific name is given as Actaea racemosa by some sources, and Cimicifuga racemosa by others. Black Cohosh is in the buttercup family, and it can grow to be 3 to 7 feet tall. It is one of the largest woodland wildflowers, producing tall spikes with white flowers in the summer. The word "cohosh" comes from an Algonquin word meaning "rough", which refers to the appearance of the plant's rhizomes (underground stems). Another name for it is Black Bugbane, which refers to the plant's unpleasant smell which can repel insects.

Identification Tools

Virginia Native Plant Society Illinois Wildflowers Go Botany Missouri Botanical Garden Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


North America Virginia

Black Cohosh leaves
Black Cohosh leaves

Black Cohosh leaves
Black Cohosh leaves, dusted with yellow pollen from trees above

Black Cohosh leaves
Black Cohosh plant

Black Cohosh leaves
Black Cohosh "candle" of flowers

Black Cohosh leaves
Black Cohosh in bloom

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