BLACK COHOSH BLACK SNAKEROOT TALL BUGBANE





(Cimicifuga racemosa) Crowfoot family [Buttercup family]



Flowers - Fetid, feathery, white, in an elongated wand-like

raceme, 6 in. to 2 ft. long, at the end of a stem 3 to 8 ft.

high. Sepals petal-like, falling early; 4 to 8 small stamen-like

petals 2-cleft; stamens very numerous, with long filaments; 1 or

2 sessile pistils with broad stigmas. Leaves: Alternate, on long

petioles, thrice compounded of oblong, deeply toothed or cleft

leaflets, the end leaflet often again compound. Fruit: Dry oval

pods, their seeds in 2 rows.

Preferred Habitat - Rich woods and woodland borders, hillsides.

Flowering Season - June-August.

Distribution - Maine to Georgia, and westward from Ontario to

Missouri.



Tall white rockets, shooting upward from a mass of large handsome

leaves in some heavily shaded midsummer woodland border, cannot

fail to impress themselves through more than one sense, for their

odor is as disagreeable as the fleecy white blossoms are

striking. Obviously such flowers would be most attractive to the

carrion and meat flies. Cimicifuga, meaning to drive away bugs,

and the old folk-name of bugbane testify to a degree of

offensiveness to other insects, where the flies' enjoyment

begins. As these are the only insects one is likely to see about

the fleecy wands, doubtless they are their benefactors. The

countless stamens which feed them generously with pollen

willingly left for them alone must also dust them well as they

crawl about before flying to another fetid lunch.



The close kinship with the baneberries is detected at once on

examining one of these flowers. Were the vigorous plant less

offensive to the nostrils, many a garden would be proud to own so

decorative an addition to the shrubbery border.





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