Cimicifuga racemosa

(Linnaeus) Nuttall

Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 2: 15. 1818.

Common names: Black snakeroot black cohosh
Endemic
Basionym: Actaea racemosa Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 1: 504. 1753
Synonyms: Actaea monogyna Walter
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 3.

Stems 75-250 cm, glabrous. Leaves: petiole angled or ± terete, 15-60 cm, usually not grooved abaxially, glabrous. Leaf-blade 2-3-ternately compound; leaflets 20-70; terminal leaflet of central segment ovate to obovate, 3-lobed, 6-15 × 6-16.5 cm, with 3 prominent veins arising basally, base somewhat cuneate to somewhat cordate, margins dentate to deeply dentate-serrate or incised, apex acute to acuminate, surfaces glabrous, abaxially rarely pubescent on veins; other leaflets 4-12 × 3-8 cm. Inflorescences erect panicles of 4-9 wandlike, racemelike branches, 10-60 cm, distally pubescent; bracts 1, subtending pedicel, subulate, 3-4 mm; pedicel 4-10 mm, pubescent, bracteoles absent. Flowers: sepals 4, greenish white; petals (1-) 4 (-8), white, oblong, ca. 3 mm, clawed; nectary basal; stamens 55-110; filaments 5-10 mm; pistils 1 (-2), sessile, ± pubescent; style short, thick; stigma 0.5 mm wide. Follicles 1, sessile, ovoid, ± laterally compressed, 5-10 mm, thick walled. Seeds brown, hemispheric, 3 mm, smooth or ± rough-ridged, without scales. 2n = 16.


Phenology: Flowering summer (Jun–Sep).
Habitat: Moist, mixed deciduous forests, wooded slopes, ravines, creek margins, thickets, moist meadowlands, forest margins, and especially mountainous terrain
Elevation: 0-1500 m

Distribution

V3 208-distribution-map.gif

Ont., Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Md., Mass., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va.

Discussion

Maine and Vermont specimens probably were planted originally.

Several varieties (A. Gray et al. 1878-1897, vol. 1(1,1), pp. 53-55) or forms (M. L. Fernald 1950) have been named. Specimens with extremely dissected leaves from Connecticut to Delaware and Virginia have been called Cimicifuga racemosa var. dissecta A. Gray, or C. racemosa forma dissecta (A. Gray) Fernald. Of the approximately 2500 specimens of C. racemosa examined, only twelve represent var. dissecta, and only two of those have flowers or fruits. Because of the limited knowledge concerning the dissected-leaf form, and because plants similar to those referred to by Gray and Fernald have not been collected in this century, the form is of uncertain taxonomic significance. Further study is needed.

Native Americans used infusions of plants of Cimicifuga racemosa medicinally to stimulate menstruation, to treat rheumatic pains, coughs and colds, constipation, and kidney trouble, to make babies sleep, and to promote milk flow in women (D. E. Moerman 1986).

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.

"thick" is not a number.

... more about "Cimicifuga racemosa"
Acute (?) +  and Acuminate (?) +
0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
Gwynn W. Ramsey +
(Linnaeus) Nuttall +
cordate +, cuneate to somewhat +  and cuneate +
Actaea racemosa +
straight +
0.05 cm0.5 mm <br />5.0e-4 m <br /> (0.25 cm2.5 mm <br />0.0025 m <br />) +
subulate +
racemelike +  and wand-like +
globose;cylindric +
Black snakeroot +  and black cohosh +
Ont. +, Ala. +, Ark. +, Conn. +, Del. +, D.C. +, Ga. +, Ill. +, Ind. +, Ky. +, Md. +, Mass. +, Mo. +, N.J. +, N.Y. +, N.C. +, Ohio +, Pa. +, S.C. +, Tenn. +, Va. +  and W.Va. +
0-1500 m +
0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
sessile +  and pedicellate +
showy +  and inconspicuous +
walled +  and sessile +
0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
stipitate +, sessile +  and aggregate +
ovoid +  and obovoid +
Moist, mixed deciduous forests, wooded slopes, ravines, creek margins, thickets, moist meadowlands, forest margins, and especially mountainous terrain +
axillary +  and terminal +
petiolate +  and compound +
whorled +, opposite +  and alternate +
cauline +  and basal +
4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br /> (12 cm120 mm <br />0.12 m <br />) +
2-5-lobed +, ovatelanceolate +  and broadly obovate or orbiculate +
3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br /> (8 cm80 mm <br />0.08 m <br />) +
incised +  and toothed +
palmate +  and pinnate +
incised;dentate-serrate +
many-flowered +
10 cm100 mm <br />0.1 m <br /> (60 cm600 mm <br />0.6 m <br />) +
0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
distinct +
conspicuous +
Clawed (?) +  and Oblong (?) +
reduced +
3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br /> (?) +
terete +  and angled +
15 cm150 mm <br />0.15 m <br /> (60 cm600 mm <br />0.6 m <br />) +
Flowering summer (Jun–Sep). +
Gen. N. Amer. Pl. +
not arillate +  and stalked +
verrucose +
rough-ridged +  and hemispheric +
6 cm60 mm <br />0.06 m <br /> (15 cm150 mm <br />0.15 m <br />) +
3-lobed +, ovate +  and obovate +
6 cm60 mm <br />0.06 m <br /> (16.5 cm165 mm <br />0.165 m <br />) +
greenish white +
not persistent +
distinct +
more or less concave ovate +  and obovate +
0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
W1 +  and Endemic +
75 cm750 mm <br />0.75 m <br /> (250 cm2,500 mm <br />2.5 m <br />) +
persistent +
pubescent;glabrous +
Actaea monogyna +
Cimicifuga racemosa +
Cimicifuga +
species +
herbaceous +  and woody +