ingredient information
Cimicifuga racemosa
Actaea racemosa (black cohosh, black bugbane or black snakeroot or fairy candle; syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the family Ranunculaceae, native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario south to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland situations, and is often found in small woodland openings. It is a glabrous herbaceous perennial plant, producing large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, growing 0.25-0.6 m (7-18 in) tall. The basal leaves are up to 1 m (39 in) long and broad, tripinnately compound, the leaflets with a coarsely toothed margin. The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 0.75-2.5 m (2½–8 ft) tall, in racemes up to 50 cm (20 in) long; they have no petals or sepals, only a tight cluster of 55-110 white stamens 5-10 mm long surrounding the white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet smell. The fruit is a dry follicle 5-10 mm long containing several seeds. The species has a history of taxonomic uncertainty dating back to Carl Linnaeus who, after some earlier revisions, had eventually placed it into the genus, Actaea, based on morphological characteristics of the inflorescence and seeds. This designation was later revised by Thomas Nuttall reclassifying the species to the genus, Cimicifuga, based solely on the dry follicles produced by black cohosh that are typical of species in Cimicifuga.[1] However, recent additional data from morphological and gene phylogeny analyses demonstrate that black cohosh is more closely related to species of the genus Actaea than to other Cimicifuga species, prompting the revision to Actaea racemosa as originally proposed by Linnaeus.[1] Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), despite its similar common name, is a plant of another genus.