Actaea racemosa 'Atropurpurea'

Black Cohosh

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This cultilvar of Actaea racemosa is distinguished for the burgundy/bronze tinge to its leaves. The 2 - 3-foot wands of  bloom are purple in bud, and tinged pink when they first open, maturing to white.In the late summer they form a striking presence in woodland garden, or the back of a shady border in late summer. Given moist, shady,  peaty woodland soils it will self-sow.

There are over 35 different species of bugbane or Actaea, spanning Europe, Asia, and North America. They're generally woodland plants, happiest in dappled shade and cool, consistently moist soil. Most form mounds of toothed leaves and then in mid-summer send up spikes of tightly packed flowers, often followed by conspicuous berries. NOTE: Berries are poisonous to people and rabbits; harmless to birds and butterflies.

Plant Shape
Partial Shade, Full Shade
Bloom Time
July - August, September - October
Bloom Color
Pink, White
Landscape Use
Bedding or Border, Specimen Plant, Understory
Wildlife Interest
Attracts Butterflies, Resistant To Deer
Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
3 - 7