Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh
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Black Cohosh

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Cimicifuga racemosa

Black Cohosh is a herbaceous perennial reaching around 2m in height.  It is sometimes known as Rattletop, and has medicinal properties such as treating tinnitus and menstrual cramps, as well as menopause symptoms.  

This herb is a native of North America and a member of the Buttercup family.  The plant exudes a sweet but fetid smell, but it is still used in flower arrangements because of its ornamental essence.  It is attractive to butterflies, and grows lovely fluffy white flowers that give it the name Fairy Candles. It is also called black bugbane, black snakeroot, macrotys, and rheumatism weed.

The tiny seeds of the Black Cohosh develop in capsules about 5 to 10 mm long.  Black Cohosh seeds are brown or black, smooth, and triangular.

Sow seed in Summer for Spring germination, the seeds need stratification to germinate successfully - 2 weeks warm exposure, then 2 weeks cold exposure (fridge). Use rich well composted soils, part shade.  Drought and frost resistant.   

Plant the seeds directly in the garden if possible, or indoors about ¼-inch deep. Cover them with about two-inch of leaf mulch. Water and keep the layers moist until the seeds germinate.  If you sow them indoors, transfer the seedlings in Spring when two sets of leaves appear on the plant.

Once you have a well established plant, the most successful way of propagating Black Cohosh is through its underground rhizomes. Cut them about 4-inches long, ensuring that each section has a bud and fibrous roots. Plant the Black Cohosh rhizomes about 4 to 6 inches deep with the bud pointing upward. Cover them with 2-inch of soil and at least three inches of mulch. Water them well and keep the layers moist, replacing the mulch when it sinks.

Black Cohosh roots are ready for harvest in four to five years if you start them from seeds. If you start them from rhizomes, they are ready after approx. three years.

10 seeds per packet