Ranunculaceae / Buttercups
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Lore: If the foul odor (C. racemosa only) and the name "Bugbane" doesn't give you a clue that this plant has been used as a insect repellent, consider the fact that Cimicifuga is Latin for "bug repellent".
Medical Uses: The roots have been used by Native Americans for a great many things including
rheumatism, lumbago and nervous problems. It may have been most important to them for treating various female
problems including menstrual cramps and to ease childbirth. Research has shown that it is a sedative, antispasmodic,
anti-inflammatory and effects hormonal activity in women. Its use in by women to treat problems related to menopause
may be increasing.
Warning: Large doses may cause nausea and dizziness and it is to be avoided during pregnancy as it may cause miscarriage.
Similar Species: C. racemosa flowers from May to July while C. americana
flowers from July to September. Appalachian bugbane (C. rubifolia) is similar to C. racemosa. It generally
has fewer and larger leaflets having cordate bases and the
terminal one not having three parts.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves