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.