Calling all writers, especially those who wax poetic! If you have a way with words, here's your chance to put pen to paper and try your hand at writing an award-winning piece for us. Find all the details on our contest page.

Branched Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, Black Cohosh 'Atropurpurea'

Actaea racemosa

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Actaea (ak-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: racemosa (ray-see-MO-suh) (Info)
Cultivar: Atropurpurea
Synonym:Cimicifuga racemosa



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Juneau, Alaska

Batavia, Illinois

Greenville, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Lakeville, Minnesota

Franklinville, New Jersey

Linville, North Carolina

Madison, Ohio

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Lexington, Virginia

Oakton, Virginia

Monroe, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 20, 2010, KMcGregor from Monroe, WA wrote:

Have enjoyed this plant in our garden for more than 20 years. It makes a strong statement, the clump expands slowly, and the honeybees love it. One of the most fragrant plants in our garden.


On Mar 10, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have mine in part shade and it does very well there. It doesn't grow tall if it isn't given enoungh water. More water means a bigger, better , taller plant.


On Dec 11, 2004, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

A very bold plant for the garden. If kept reasonably moist and fertilized, it will reach 8 feet. Very fragrant with bottle-brush flowers. This was the first of the 'purple-leaved' selections. If sunny, it is reasonably dark foliaged although newer cultivars are much darker. Excellent plant for the back of the border. The wild species is native to Japan. Unlike the American species of bugbane, this one has a branched flower stem.