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Cimicifugas

At this time of the year the graceful cimicifugas point their spires of tiny white flowers towards the sky.

cimicifugas flower

Photo: Jenn Forman Orth

Their flower wands look like ghostly fingers held high on a wiry stem.

At this time of the year the graceful cimicifugas point their spires of tiny white flowers towards the sky.

These perennials are native not only to North America, but also to Europe and Asia, and cimicifuga is a multiple syllable word that rolls musically across the tongue. It is a shame that the common names of this plant, snakeroot and bugbane are not so lovely.

Attractive Addition to Your Garden

They thrive in partial shade and moist soil and make attractive mounds of foliage. Their flower wands look like ghostly fingers held high on a wiry stem. They look spectacular shimmering and quivering in the breeze above a bed of green and white hostas. They self sow happily.

The White Flower Farm catalogue lists a cultivar ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, a statuesque 5 ft tall plant with elegant black-purple foliage to contrast with the white flower spikes.

I am lusting to have one of those.

If you live in zones 4 through 8 perhaps you would like one in your garden. All cimicifuga are handsome and relatively trouble free if they like their site. The hotter your zone is the more shade they need.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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