Autumn Snakeroot, Black Cohosh, Bugbane 'Hillside Black Beauty'

Actaea simplex

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Actaea (ak-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: simplex (SIM-plecks) (Info)
Cultivar: Hillside Black Beauty
Additional cultivar information:(PP9988, Atropurpurea Group; aka Purpurea)
Hybridized by McGourty
Registered or introduced: 1995
Synonym:Cimicifuga racemosa
View this plant in a garden



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


Unknown - Tell us

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:

Patent expired

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:

Wyanet, Illinois

Iowa City, Iowa

Ellicott City, Maryland

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts

East Tawas, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Kalispell, Montana

Sparks, Nevada

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Cato, New York

Greene, New York

Youngstown, New York

Boone, North Carolina

Chesterland, Ohio

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Roanoke, Virginia

Seattle, Washington

Madison, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 2, 2012, ShelbySnider240 from Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I grow the "Black Cohosh" in my shade garden in Roanoke, VA. It does very well and has beautiful blooms. A friend gave me mine and she said it grew wild in the woods near her.


On Jul 5, 2012, yumabase from Youngstown, NY wrote:

I planted 6 black cohosh roots / bulbs this spring. Only 3 came up, and since May they have only grown to about 10 inches. The soil is good and there in mostly shade and moist. The P.H. Is just above 5.5, and I use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
I understand that there supposed to grow as much as 2 feet a month. Everything els growing in this garden is doing great.
What am I doing wrong?


On Jun 16, 2012, 730chicagogirl from Arlington Heights, IL wrote:

I LOVE this plant but I have had trouble with it. The first year, it was okay until Sept-Oct. Went out and the plant was totally gone....couldn't see a single stem. My neighbor actually suggested that someone took it. I just chalked it up. But the next spring, there it was, growing and looking good. Did well. This year, it started out strong, ...and again, overnight, parts of it are drooping, stems seem bent and broken, and leaves are dry and/or soggy. Had to cut away 50 percent of plant and am hoping it makes it. Help!
Tell me it's not chipmonks.


On Dec 1, 2006, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

In the Baltimore, Maryland area, this plant produces a lot of viable seed which has self-sowed in our garden. The offspring's leaves are not as dark purple as the parent, but, still, the leaves do have an interesting "smoky" tinge to the leaves. With its unique, sweet fragrance that carries far into the garden, this is a plant well worth winter sowing.


On Apr 8, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant survived the winter, but it was a little slow to appear (well, slow by my impatient standards) this spring. It's up now. It was truly beautiful when I planted it last fall.


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

This new selection is even blacker than 'Brunette'. Otherwise, everything else about the plant is the same as for C. ramosa. More sun will keep the foliage darker. More moisture will make the plant reach 6 feet plus.


On Dec 3, 2004, levilyla from Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

The foliage is absolutely beautiful .. no afternoon sun on it however...the flowers in September are intoxicatingly fragrant.