Actaea simplex Atropurpurea Group
bugbane ( syn. Cimicifuga )
- available to order from spring
- 2 litre pot
This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
- Position: partial shade
- Soil: moist, fertile, humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: September to October
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Formerly known as a Cimicifuga, this bugbane is a dramatic, stately perennial, with its slender, bottlebrush-like, pale pinkish-white flowers, which appear in September and October above clumps of lobed, purple-flushed leaves. The foliage colouring of these seed-raised plants will vary somewhat from plant to plant, but also external factors such as the time of the year and the available light will play a part. It's also a useful plant because it comes into its own late in the season (when many flowers have finished), as well as being able to thrive in damp shade. It can get quite tall, so try it towards the back of a border, and avoid removing the faded flowerheads as they provide an interesting silhouette in the winter garden.
In an article in the The Daily Telegraph, Dr James Compton (the man responsible for their classification), thought that this plant needed atmospheric moisture to thrive. 'Think of trillium country', he said, 'on the acid side of neutral, light and leaf-mouldy but able to retain moisture'.
- Garden care: Support using ring stakes well before the flowers appear. Lift and divide congested colonies in late autumn or early spring.
- Harmful if eaten/skin irritant