Actaea, Autumn Snakeroot, Black Cohosh, Bugbane, Branched Bugbane, Black Snakeroot, 'Brunette'

Actaea simplex

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Actaea (ak-TEE-uh) (Info)
Species: simplex (SIM-plecks) (Info)
Cultivar: Brunette
Synonym:Cimicifuga simplex



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:



36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Hingham, Massachusetts

Marlborough, Massachusetts

Alpena, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Chesterland, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Ames Lake, Washington

Redmond, Washington

Sammamish, Washington

Union Hill-Novelty Hill, Washington

Mequon, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 30, 2014, WAHawk from Sammamish, WA wrote:

Planted in a spot next to the deck that gets full shade until about noon, and then gets pretty good afternoon sun (well... this IS Western WA). Moist soil, most of the year. Planted in a carpet of wooly thyme. After total winter repose, the plant regrows vigorously and has gotten bigger every year (5 years in ground). Striking white blooms are fragrant, but do attract hornets (not good next to the outdoor dining area). Foliage contrasts beautifully from any angle with the thyme, iris fronds, sword fern, lawn, large granite boulder and cedar decking that surround it. Very happy with this choice!


On Jul 2, 2014, Franne from Mequon, WI wrote:

I've had this plant in my shade garden for about 3-4 years now. I planted it between 3 different types of hostas to showcase it's black color. Each year I get really pretty foliage but it never blooms. If anyone knows why, please let me know!


On May 4, 2009, merbex from Hingham, MA wrote:

Planted it last year in full shade hoping that it would be the focal point in a 'new' garden: 4 Patriot Hostas(2 on either side with one above the other) and a Big Daddy Hosta below the 'Brunette' Bugbane also centered between the 'bottom' 2 Patriot Hostas all within space guidelines. It did well the first year flowering - I was very happy with it - and the new spring foliage looks good. I'll try to get a photo up soon. I anticipate it will mature beautifully...fingers crossed ;)


On Jun 25, 2007, dicentra63 from West Valley City, UT (Zone 6b) wrote:

Planted in full shade, but didn't do so well. Foliage dried out at the edges, and the next year gastropods ate the new shoots, killing it good. Probably needs more humidity than 10-20% (Utah) and better gastropod control.