Habitat: partial shade
Soil: with plenty of humus
Height: 1.7 m
Flowering: early to mid autumn
Width: 70 cm
This genus has had all the plants that used to be called Cimicifuga added to it, so it has become much more complicated. They are all herbaceous plants. The original ones make thick clumps of leaf stems, each with about seven leaflets, and in the spring there are scattered heads of small, creamy white flowers. Pleasant enough, but later they become spikes of red, white or black berries, densely packed and, particularly in the red and white varieties, making a striking sight. The fruit are poisonous, which accounts for the common name bearbane. Those transferred from Cimicifuga (known as bugbane, so clearly they are noxious to creatures large and small) are generally tall, with great spikes of white flowers in autumn.
|Actaea pachypoda is a 'bearbane' from woods in eastern North America. It has heads of small white berries, which in this species are distinctive by being supported on thick, bright red stems.|
|Actaea simplex 'Brunette' is one of the ones that used to be a Cimicifuga, so it makes tall, slender spires of flowers in Autumn. It is part of the Atropurpurea group, so it has very dark foliage, deep reddish brown, against which the white flowers, with just a hint of pink, stand out.|