Hardy, herbaceous, spring-flowering eastern North American perennial
Description: Bears airy, creamy white, fragrant flowers above dissected, medium green foliage; clusters of porcelain white berries with a single black spot ripen over the summer
Habit: Clump forming, growing 1 to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, flower stem to 3 feet
Culture: Prefers part to full shade, and rich loamy soil, regular water with good drainage
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 through 8
This member of the buttercup family is found in rich, upland hardwood forests, often growing in deep shade. Also known as White Cohosh, this species was introduced to England by the early 1800's. Plants of Actaea were listed in the catalogue of Philadelphia nurserymen David and Cuthbert Landreth in 1811; along with the more commonly known cousin, Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa). The striking shiny white fruits, which resemble the china eyes once used in dolls, are highly poisonous to humans, but are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers.