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Herbaceous Perennial

Actaea cordifolia
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

heart-shaped-leaved actaea

A. cordifolia is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial up to 1.5m high with dark green leaves which are up to 60cm long and biternate with broadly obovate leaflets which are 12-20cm long, lobed, and heart-shaped at the base. It has branched, sometimes curved racemes, to 60cm long, of creamy white flowers, each 1cm long. In summer, the flowers are scented but some people find the scent umpleasant.

Synonyms
Cimicifuga racemosa var. cordifolia
Cimicifuga cordifolia (DC.) Torrey & A.Gray
see moreCimicifuga rubifolia
Actaea racemosa var. cordifolia
Actaea rubifolia

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Cream Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten, and may irritate skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Actaea are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with compound leaves and small creamy-white flowers in short, erect, simple or branched terminal racemes, followed either by poisonous red, black or white berries, or by star-shaped clustered brown follicles

Name status

Correct

Plant range
N. America

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in cool, moist, humus-rich, preferably neutral or slightly acidic soil in partial shade, for example in a woodland garden or shaded herbaceous or mixed bed

Propagation

Propagate by seed, sown when ripe in containers in a cold frame or in a nursery bed in autumn, or by division in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Low Maintenance
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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