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Cimicifuga foetida - L.

Common Name Foetid Bugbane
Family Ranunculaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does belong to a family that contains a number of toxic species and at least one species in this genus is said to be mildly poisonous. Some caution is therefore advised.
Habitats Shrubberies and forest clearings on open humus-rich soils, to 4000 metres in the Himalayas[51, 145]. Frequently found in fir forests in Kashmir[211].
Range E. Asia - C. Russia to Japan.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Cimicifuga foetida Foetid Bugbane


Cimicifuga foetida Foetid Bugbane

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cimicifuga foetida is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

C. europaea.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves - cooked[105]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Antibacterial  Antiperiodic  Antiviral  Depurative  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Febrifuge  
Sedative  Tonic

Foetid bugbane is an anti-infective herb that lowers fevers and reduces pain[238]. The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antiperiodic, antiviral, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, tonic[46, 61, 147, 176, 218, 240]. It is used internally in the treatment of rheumatic complaints, coughs, colds, headaches, gum diseases and feverish infections such as measles[238, 240]. The root is harvested in the autumn and used fresh or dried[238]. Use with caution[176], see the notes above on toxicity.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Repellent

Both the growing and the dried plant is used as an insect repellent in Siberia[1, 211, 240].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist humus rich soil and some shade[1, 200]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. There is some confusion over the name of this species, C. foetida (Auct.) is given as a synonym for C. europaea Schipez (said to be native to E. Europe) whilst another authority cites C. europaea as a synonym of C. foetida. It is possible that entries under this species apply also (or instead) to C. europaea[50]. A very attractive plant, but the flowers and the green seed pods have an unusual, slightly unpleasant smell[188] that is reminiscent of decaying fish[245].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[1]. Only just cover the seed. It germinates in 1 - 12 months or even longer at 15°c[164]. The seed does not store well and soon loses its viability[200], stored seed may germinate better if given 6 - 8 weeks warm stratification at 15°c and then 8 weeks cold stratification[164]. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in spring or autumn[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Cimicifuga dahuricaXing An Sheng MaPerennial1.5 4-8  LMHSM13 
Cimicifuga heracleifoliaKomarov's BugbanePerennial1.0 3-7  LMHSM02 
Cimicifuga racemosa (Actaea racemosa)Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, BugbanePerennial1.5 4-10 MLMHSM14 
Cimicifuga simplex Perennial1.5 4-8  LMHSM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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