Information courtesy of Magna Vista High School students.
Scientific Name: Cimicifuga racemosa
Creeping Buttercup-Ranunculus repens
Sagebrush Buttercup-Ranunculus glaberrimus
Native or Introduced?: North American, found in the Ozark region of Missouri
Cohosh is easily grown in average, medium moisturized soils that are partly or fully shaded. The plant prefers organically rich and retentive soils. Foliage tends to scorch and depreciate if soils are allowed to dry out. Cohosh is a low-established plant, and normally grows to the total height of 4 to 6 feet, but under some conditions can reach 8 feet. During late summer time small creamy white, fragrant flowers appear and grow larger throughout fall. Cohosh appear on wiry stems, and have smooth glossy compound leaves that come from an underground rhizome and are normally symmetric on top and asymmetric on the bottom.
Cohosh adds ecological height and late summer bloom to a shaded part of the border or shade garden. This plant is also effective in woodland gardens, cottage gardens, and naturalized areas. The beauty of the plant stands out more when it is in a group, however single plants have good specimens as well and are very effective once established. White flower spires are generally more demonstrative in front of darker backgrounds. Deep green foliage provides excellent texture and color to the landscape throughout the growing season.
Cohosh was used by the Native Americans to treat snake bites, and as a ceremonial herb to bring vision. The root was thought by some American settlers to be the main ingredient in witches brew, and any female caught with it in her possession was burned as a witch. Today the plant is used to prepare herbal recipes, and with things like pregnancy, hot flashes, and menopause.Another unique property is that the common name Bugbane for the plant is in reference to the odoriferous insect repellant properties of the plant.
Status: Cohosh is an endangered medical herb.