Perry's Perennial Pages

Cimicifuga ramosa 'Hillside Black Beauty'

    Perennial of the Month-- August 2001

(si-mi-si-fue' ga)

Common name: Bugbane

Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup

Height x width: 4-7' x 2-3', shorter in sun and than other purple foliage cultivars

Growth rate: moderate to slow (3-4 years before flowering)

Foliage: divided into 3 segments 3 times (ternately compound), blackish and noteworthy as darkest of any purple foliage cultivar; dark purple stems

Flowers: long racemes of white, late summer; fragrant

Hardiness: zones 3-7

Soil: moist, acidic preferred (as in woodlands)

Light: shade to part shade zone 6 and warmer, full sun north with sufficient moisture

Pests and problems: few

Landscape habit, uses: woodland, back of border, native planting; nice contrast with yellow foliage as of variegated meadowsweet, or white foliage of artemisias; good choice for late summer bloom, and a choice plant for accent or specimen

Other interest: when named by Linnaeus in 1750 the species foetidus was ground into powder and stuffed into mattresses and pillows to drive away (Latin fugo) bugs (Latin cimex); much confusion in the nomenclature of this genus, this cultivar and similar ones often listed in ramosa yet other references putting them in racemosa

Other culture: performs best in cooler zones

Propagation: stratified seed germinate erratically, hard to divide mature (at least 3 years old) plants

Sources: Planthaven retailers. Shady Oaks (MN), Greer Gardens (OR), Wayside Gardens (SC) and other specialty perennial nurseries and retailers

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