One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tall plant with wandlike 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)
- ‘Throughout the woodlands, color can be found in late-blooming azaleas, lilies, bugbanes, hostas, and hydrangeas.’
- ‘Other plants are also called bugbane and snakeroot; most plants called cohosh belong to the related baneberry genus.’
- ‘Tall bugbane is a tall wildflower with branched and leafy stems arising from 100-200 cm high.’
- ‘Other common names for this plant are black root, bugbane, rattle root, rattle top, rattle squawroot, snake root and rattle weed.’
- ‘Wood anemones, epimediums, bugbanes, and toad lilies create intricate tapestries under flowering shrubs and trees.’
Early 19th century: from bug + bane, with reference to the former use of the species C. foetida to drive away bedbugs.
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