Actaea racemosa

Actaea Racemosa

Actaea racemosa or Black Cohosh The half-metre long white bottlebrush spikes carry many tiny flowers above the deep green leaves. The scented flowers lack petals and sepals having tight clusters of 55-110 white stamens up to 1 cm long surrounding a white stigma.

 
Season of Interest
Summer flowering with spectacular brilliant white flowers and followed by poisonous red, black or white berries. Various insect pollinators are attracted by the slightly sickly sweet fragrance of the flowers.
 
Black cohosh is native to North American woodlands and the roots have a history of medicinal use having sedative and anti-inflammatory properties and as treatment for the symptoms of menopause.  
 
Carl Linnaeus named Actaea racemosa but it was reclassified as Cimicifuga racemosa based on some features typical of Cimicifuga species. Gene studies have confirmed Linnaeus’s original taxonomy - black cohosh is more closely related to the Actaea genus than Cimicifuga.