Monday, October 23, 2006

Autumn Snakeroot (Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' )

Autumn Snakeroot
Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' (Atropurpurea Group)
(ak-TEE-uh) (SIM-plecks)

This plant is just stunning in bloom. I have been trying to get a good picture of it for weeks but I really missed the full bloom stage of my little patch. I was happy to see it at the Bartlett Arboretum on Sunday and it was just starting to bloom. The conditions for flower photography kind of stunk as there was a stiff breeze and even though it was one o’clock in the afternoon it was drearily dark out. I tried a couple of settings and ended up using the auto mode of the camera by accident. I have been manually focusing 90% of my macros and I decided to use the auto-focus. It came out fairly well considering I didn’t know what I was doing. The fragrance of the flowers, it was a stand of about 8 plants, was very pleasing. So was the color of the flowers and buds. The foliage, which a lot of people rave about, was a little ratty, just like mine at home. I guess if it gets too much sun or dries out the foliage isn’t great. They always seem to flower nicely though. It is sometimes a little slow to emerge in the spring but it has the rest of the season to develop. Just a little warning this is an expensive, hard to find and slow to develop plant. It is worth taking the time for.

(Synonyms: Black Cohosh, Bugbane, Cimicifuga racemosa 'Purpurea')

1 comment:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I LOVE the scent--it's kind of like fragrant ripe grapes, don't you think? I have three in my yard, but they're still too small to have much of an impact yet. I've moved them around at least 3 times in the past 3 years, though, so that's mostly my fault.