The characteristics of the act
- Type : flower and flowering plant
- Height: up to 1m
- Flower color: White
- Desired exposure:shaded, semi-shaded
- Type of soil: humiferous, rocky
- Sanitizing: no
Origins and characteristics of the act
The genus Actaea contains more than 30 species of perennial plants. Originally, there are eight different species of cohosh.
Like the buttercup, this plant is part of the family Ranunculaceae. Therefore, it is a very toxic plant, especially because of its berries. Two berriesActaea rubra could kill a child, six berries an adult. And yet, certain Amerindian tribes used to serve an infusion of black cohosh to women who had just given birth.
They generally grow in the undergrowth, and are mainly cultivated in Europe, in the United States but also in Asia. Very robust, they can live for years in the same place, even in a place with low light.
We recognize it thanks to its beautiful foliage, very cut and sometimes very shiny, almost varnished. The flowers develop in short white clusters, from which appear the fruits, very toxic black berries. These berries are very popular with birds.
Among the varieties of actée one can quote, theblack cohosh black or actea racemosa, theblack cohosh blue or caulophyllum thalictroide and theblack cohosh white or actaea alba.
Plantation of the actée
The cohosh particularly appreciates cool and humid places, such as undergrowth. It is best planted in the fall, but it can also be done in the spring.
To promote the establishment of the cohosh roots, it is recommended to work the soil fairly deep. Then bring leaf mold around the root ball. To maintain the freshness of the soil, remember to water abundantly and then mulch the foot.
It is recommended to keep a space of 50cm between each plant, to give the plant sufficient space for its growth.
If the act is in an undergrowth, it can stand on its own. It can also be planted in a pot, or in a planter. For this, it is necessary to use a substrate composed of potting soil.
Maintenance of the act
During the first year, the plant is abundantly watered, especially during the summer season. By the end of spring, mulch the base to maintain the cool soil necessary for good growth of the actée.
In the event of an intense dryness, water the actée regularly. Remove wilted flowers during the flowering period to optimize growth.
The pruning is done at the end of winter, in March in particular. To highlight the new shoots, fold back the dried out stems. As winter approaches, the leaves can be cut about ten centimeters from the ground.
It is in autumn that we divide the actée, to proceed to its multiplication. Wait several years before dividing the tuft, so that the plant is well established in the soil. To separate the suckers, use a spade.
The black cohosh is a slow growing plant, which reaches a height of 1m at maturity. The flowering of the actée is short: generally from June to July. Sometimes the plant flowers again in October, but this is very rare.
Medicinal uses of cohosh
Despite its toxicity, black cohosh is a plant that can be used medicinally. Thus, the Amerindians did not hesitate to give infusions of black cohosh to pregnant women to calm the pains of childbirth.
To fight against colds, arthritis and rheumatism, we favorActaea rubra. We also chew the leaves to activate blood circulation. The fruit juice was used to poison the arrowheads.
Finally, theActaea spicata is still used in homeopathy. It helps relieve joint pain such as osteoarthritis. Its berries indeed contain molecules that act on the nervous system.