Definition of bugbane in US English:



  • A tall plant with spikes of cream or yellow flowers. A member of the buttercup family, it is native to north temperate regions.

    Genus Cimicifuga, family Ranunculaceae: several species, in particular the American bugbane (C. americana) of the eastern US and the black cohosh (C. racemosa)

    • ‘Wood anemones, epimediums, bugbanes, and toad lilies create intricate tapestries under flowering shrubs and trees.’
    • ‘Other plants are also called bugbane and snakeroot; most plants called cohosh belong to the related baneberry genus.’
    • ‘Throughout the woodlands, color can be found in late-blooming azaleas, lilies, bugbanes, hostas, and hydrangeas.’
    • ‘Other common names for this plant are black root, bugbane, rattle root, rattle top, rattle squawroot, snake root and rattle weed.’
    • ‘Tall bugbane is a tall wildflower with branched and leafy stems arising from 100-200 cm high.’


Early 19th century: from bug + bane, with reference to the former use of the species C. foetida to drive away bedbugs.