Previous Plant Next Plant

Cimicifuga racemosa

Bugbane / syn. Actaea racemosa

Slender, upright form makes a vertical statement. Wands of tiny white flowers bloom over an extended period of time in mid to late summer attracting loads of butterflies. Despite the height it won’t need staking. Looks best planted in groups though, a single mature plant could be used as a specimen. Deep green foliage has great looking texture all season long. Effective in woodland gardens, cottage gardens and naturalized areas in shade or part shade with moist, well drained soil. 


  • Excellent nectar and pollen source for beneficial insects
  • Host plant for Appalachian blue and spring azure butterfly
  • Blooms in shade 4+ weeks
  • Will grow in dry shade under hardwood trees
  • Long-lived, tough perennial that's easy-to-grow

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant in a shaded area. Bugbane is long lived but may take a couple of years to get established and reach full size. While the plant is very drought tolerant, provide some additional water to keep it looking its best.

4-7 Feet


2-4 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

Native Range

Rich woods; Massachusetts to Indiana south to Missouri and Georgia.

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

Nectar lures pollinating insects. Pollinators such as butterflies brush against reproductive parts of plants moving pollen from one flower to another. This crucial act results in fertilization and seed set assuring food for birds and insects and future generations of plants.

The common name of bugbane is in reference to the odoriferous insect repellant properties of this plant.

"This tall beauty provides lots of pollen and nectar for my insect friends."

Good Companions
Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia), Hummingbird Summer Sweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Shade
  • Humus-rich
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Late Summer
  • Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
  • Rabbit Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
Native Habitat
  • Forest
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Accent
  • Border
  • Drought tolerant
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
  • Specimen
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia