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Black Cohosh Wildfloweror

Black Cohosh Wildfloweror

Black Cohosh Wildflower

The native Black Cohosh is rare in Illinois and state-listed as 'endangered.' It has been found in only a few counties in northern and southern Illinois. At some of these localities, Black Cohosh is probably extirpated because it hasn't observed since the late 19th century. At other localities, the population consists of plants that have been introduced. Habitat includes mesic deciduous woodlands (where Sugar Maple is often dominant) and the bases of bluffs along rivers. In Illinois, Black Cohosh is more common in flower gardens than the wild; it is also more common in natural areas further to the east, including the Appalachian mountains.

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The flowers provide both nectar and pollen to insect visitors. Unfortunately, these insects are largely unknown, in part because Black Cohosh is uncommon in Illinois and neighboring states. The caterpillars of the butterfly Celastrina neglecta major (Appalachian Azure) feed exclusively on Black Cohosh; however, this insect doesn't occur in Illinois. It is doubtful that mammalian herbivores feed on this wildflower to any significant degree because the foliage is toxic.The native Black Cohosh is rare in Illinois and state-listed as 'endangered.' It has been found in only a few counties in northern and southern Illinois. At some of these localities, Black Cohosh is probably extirpated because it hasn't observed since the late 19th century. At other localities, the population consists of plants that have been introduced. Habitat includes mesic deciduous woodlands (where Sugar Maple is often dominant) and the bases of bluffs along rivers. In Illinois, Black Cohosh is more common in flower gardens than the wild; it is also more common in natural areas further to the east, including the Appalachian mountains.

In contrast, Black Cohosh has smaller leaflets (up to 4" long and 3" across) and there are usually more than 10-20 leaflets per compound leaf. Another species, Cimicifuga americana (American Bugbane), has foliage that is nearly identical to that of Black Cohosh. However, American Bugbane has several pistils in the center of each flower, while Black Cohosh has only a single pistil per flower. Similarly, American Bugbane produces its follicles in clusters (one for each pistil), while Black Cohosh produces its follicles individually.Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) was used by Native Americans as an herbal remedy and its popularity continues to this day. This plant is native to eastern North America and is found throughout Virginia except for the outer coastal plain. It grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings. If you are not interested in growing this native for its medicinal properties (and PMG is not endorsing its use), is it still an excellent addition for your shade garden? If you are looking for a plant with dramatic flair, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Before we consider its ornamental value, let’s quickly address its use in herbal medicine. (Source: piedmontmastergardeners.org)

 

 

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