Actaea plants are grown for their foliage as well as the flowers that appear late in summer. Best suited to a shaded to part shaded woodland situation. They do require good drainage.

With many species and cultivars available for sale for the home garden popular varieties include : Actaea racemosa, simplex, pachypoda, rubra, and spicta.

A.racemosa is also known as Cimcifuga racemosa.

Although sold as ‘shadeloving’ they actually grow best in dappled shade rather than deep shade. These are a late season plant flowering in Fall. The blooms appear as spikes above the foliage and are mildly fragrant.


  • Suited to USDA Zones 3a – 9
  • Actaea generally require a moist humus rich soil.
  • Naturally occurring in woodland situations in part shade
  • They do not like boggy or wet soils


  • Tall growing to 60 inches Actaea pachypoda is known as ‘Dolls Eyes’ or ‘Baneberry’ green fernlike foliage with flowers carried above, followed by white berries.
  • Actaea racemosa also known as ‘black bugbane’, ‘black snake root’ and ‘black cohosh’ is the most well know of this group of woodland perennials.
  • Actaea simplex with its deep chocalate foliage has given rise to lots of cultivars including ;
    ‘Pink Spike’
    ‘White Pearl’
    ‘Black Negligee’
  • Actaea rubra is the red baneberry, white flowers followed by red berries, not as widely grown as others.


Propagation is by division in spring.

  • Dig the clump with a garden fork.
  • Divide with a sharp spade or knife.
  • Make sure that each section has a good root system.
  • Re plant and water in with a liquid seaweed fertilizer,

Where to buy

PRAIRIE MOON NURSERY 32115 Prairie Lane Winona MN 55987 phone: 507-452-1362
Native seeds and Native Plants for Wetlands, Prairies, Meadows, Savannas and Woodlands

DIGGING DOG NURSERY – phone (707) 937-1130 PO Box 471 Albion CA 95410
A spectacular selection of hard to find perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees and vines for your garden. Includes: aconitum carmichaelli, aconitum fischeri, aconitum cammarum.