Cimicifuga / Actaea

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Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Lori wrote:

Thanks, Mark - I would appreciate it! 
Oh, I forgot... I do have C. cordifolia 'Blickfang' blooming, so at least there is one!

Do you know what 'Blickfang' means? ;)

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

It's so good to hear of these plants under their sensible name, Cimicifuga. With the Plantfinder in the UK name changes become very rapidly brought into the horticultural world, perhaps with little sensitivity to gardeners! We have trouble growing these lovely late flowering plants in our dry garden, but I have previously grown the purple forms of simplex on the nursery. From seed they seemed to come quite true but the seed is matured so late that I always found germination to occur in the second spring following, compared with most other Ranunculaceae. Once or twice I tried dividing plants; they are very shallow rooting and form a hard, compact rootstock. Division is a little like that for hostas, chopping the plant up into small pieces with growing points, but actually worked very well, so I imagine new forms can be increased quite rapidly. They really are an elegant group of plants and I had no idea of the great variation within the genus. Lovely to see those posted here, even if I can't grow them!!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Hoy wrote:

Lori wrote:

Thanks, Mark - I would appreciate it! 
Oh, I forgot... I do have C. cordifolia 'Blickfang' blooming, so at least there is one!

Do you know what 'Blickfang' means? ;)

Best I can determine, 'Blickfang' means "eye-catcher" in Dutch:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blickfang

Perhaps this cultivar of an American species was named in a nursery in the Netherlands, perhaps accounting for the use of the synonym species.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Tim wrote:

They really are an elegant group of plants and I had no idea of the great variation within the genus. Lovely to see those posted here, even if I can't grow them!!

The one I show from Garden In The Woods, with those luxuriant wide and thick-textured leaves, does not fit the description of the 6 species listed in Flora of North America!  There is a possibility it is a species from outside of North America, every now and then this particular garden "breaks its own rules" of only planting North American plants and one finds Asiatic counterparts planted (for example, they had both Jeffersonia diphylla and J. dubia planted), possibly to help illustrate the well-known close relationship between some eastern North American flora with curiously disjunct representatives in the Far East.  I plan on contacting the staff at Garden In The Woods to ask what species it is.

Tim wrote:

It's so good to hear of these plants under their sensible name, Cimicifuga. With the Plantfinder in the UK name changes become very rapidly brought into the horticultural world, perhaps with little sensitivity to gardeners!

It's a curious thing, to see the quick adoption by an institution like the New England Wildflower Society adopt the whole Actaea lumping business, with Cimicifuga plants in their plant-sales area labeled Actaea, while the governing authority for the Flora of North America retains Cimicifuga, as does the governing authority in Asia where half the species live (Flora of China) also fully support Cimicifuga.  In fact, all the other locations where Cimicifuga are found, the Floras support Cimicifuga as distinct and not lumped into Actaea, see the following links:
North America:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=107092
China:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=107092
Nepal:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=110&taxon_id=107092
Pakistan:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=107092
Taiwan:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=101&taxon_id=107092

Ornamental Plants From Russia And Adjacent States Of The Former Soviet Union
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=120&taxon_id=107092

The scientific publication Novon (Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, USA), published a recent paper (2004) describing two new Cimicifuga taxa; Cimicifuga austrokoreana from Korea, and Cimicifuga elata var. alpestris from Southern Oregon, USA; it includes some fine line drawings:
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/novon/novo-14-02-180.pdf

So, who the hey is it that lumps Cimicifuga into Actaea, seems that the overwhelming body of taxonomic science retains Cimicifuga as valid.  

A photo on the left of a rich raspberry red berry form on Actaea seen at Garden In The Woods (not sure which of the two American species it is; rubra or pachypoda).  On the right is the drying/ripening seed capsules on Cimicifuga simplex "atropurpurea group" in which the pods are also very dark, nearly black; photo from mid October 2009.
 

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Took some photos today of Cimicifuga simplex 'Brunette'.  It's a very VERY slow grower, with dark foliage that lightens up over the summer (true of many of the "black leaf" varieties of C. simplex), but showing strong purplish coloration to the buds and black-purple stems.  The flower head remains mostly upright and is more dense than normal.  I like it, but I would expect much more height and clumping up after 5 years, it is about 2-1/2' tall (75 cm) and only a single flowering stem; the purple-leaf forms of C. cimicifuga "Atropurpurea Group" are much more prolific with bloom and much better plants in my opinion.  However, if you want a smaller version of C. simplex, this might be the right ticket.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Seedlings of Cimicifuga simplex come up EVERYWHERE, it could potentially become invasive.  With both the all-green and dark-purple leaved forms, seedlings show up in both color forms and all kinds of intermediates.  I'm much more inclined to rogue out the all green ones in favor of the purple leaf types.  In this photo of two varying self-sown seed types, even this late in the season (mid September) where the the purple coloration can fade, the leaf color difference is quite strong.  In spring, the emerging and developing foliage is nearly all black-purple on the better forms.  The stems are virtually jet black, making a bold statement in the garden.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

McDonough wrote:

Hoy wrote:

Lori wrote:

Thanks, Mark - I would appreciate it!  
Oh, I forgot... I do have C. cordifolia 'Blickfang' blooming, so at least there is one!

Do you know what 'Blickfang' means? ;)

Best I can determine, 'Blickfang' means "eye-catcher" in Dutch:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blickfang

Perhaps this cultivar of an American species was named in a nursery in the Netherlands, perhaps accounting for the use of the synonym species.

That was the translation I found as well, and yes, European cultivars are often given "catchier" names for sales in North America.  I planted it last year if I'm remembering correctly.  Here's a fuzzy photo of it from Sept. 3rd, somewhat beaten up by hail (and the photo is severely cropped to exclude the house's water meter!)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Lori, it looks to be a good one with clean white flowers. By the way, if one zooms in, I can still see the water meter ;D

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tony Willis
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-01

I bought Actea pachypoda 'Misty Blue' yesterday which has really beautiful foliage. I had not heard of it before but when it grows and produces its white berries as well it will look fantastic. I see the label says 2 metres+ but in reality I expect it to be the same as my other form about 75 cms. It should not have any problems with the climate,it has been raining apart from one day for the past five weeks which is why I am sat at my pc in the middle of the morning!!!

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I asked just to tease you - sorry ;)

Blickfang (blickfång actually) is Swedish too. In Norwegian it is spelt "blikkfang" and it means eye-cather as you suggests.

Here all Actaea is early flowering and seeds ripen but Cimicifuga is very late flowering and seeds almost never ripen so no trouble with seedlings though! I find Actaea seed germinates easily but Cimicifuga is more difficult.

All my Actaeas is from seed (here A. pachypoda) while I have to buy plants of Cimicifugas (here C. racemosa simplex). Both pictures taken today. (Bad quality though; a gloomy damp day.)

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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