Stem. - Three to eight feet high. Leaves. - Divided, the leaflets toothed or incised. Flowers. - White, growing in elongated wand-like racemes. Calyx. - Of four or five white petal-like sepals, falling early. Corolla. - Of from one to eight white petals or transformed stamens. Stamens. - Numerous, with slender white filaments. Pistils. - One to three.
Plate XXII. Black Cohosh. - C. racemosa - Fruit
The tall white wands of the black cohosh shoot up in the shadowy woods of midsummer like so many ghosts. A curious-looking plant it is, bearing aloft the feathery flowers which have such an unpleasant odor that even the insects are supposed to avoid them. Fortunately they are sufficiently conspicuous to be admired at a distance, many a newly cleared hill-side and wood-border being lightened by their slender, torch-like racemes which flash upon us as we travel through the country. The plant was one of the many which the Indians believed to be efficacious for snake-bites. The generic name is from cimex - a bug, and fugare - to drive away.