Actaea simplex (DC.) Wormsk. ex Prantl

Bugbane, Cohosh

Cultivar Brunette

Cultivar Brunette


Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Actaea

Category: Perennial

Zones: 4 to 8

Size: To 4' tall and 3' wide

Exposure: Part Shade, Shade


White flowers in terminal racemes in summer to autumn, fragrant. Leaves similar to Astilbe. Will naturalize but slow to establish. Shelter from strong winds. Rabbit resistant (Oudolf).


'Brunette' - bronze foliage, flowers white with a pink tint in summer.

Atropurpurea Group - 7' tall, purple red foliage, elongated spikes, white flowers with purple red calyces and stems in September to October, never collapses, keep soil from drying out.

'James Compton' - 6' tall, dark foliage

'Pink Spike' - 6' tall and 3' wide, pale pink buds and pink flowers with purple spring foliage, maturing to dark green

'Prichard's Giant' - 8' tall, dull green leaves

'Scimitar' - 7' tall, graceful arched flower spikes (Oudolf)


Published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 9: 246 in 1888.

Basionym Actaea cimicifuga var. simplex DC.

Native to Russia, Mongolia, China and Japan.


My Experience: 

I saw this plant at the Hillier Arboretum in the UK and also at RHS Wisley.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner