Bugbane Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
baneberry 'Prichard's Giant'


Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant', also known as Baneberry, features a striking appearance in gardens and landscapes. The plant has an elegant and architectural form, characterized by its deeply cut, ornamental leaves which provide a lush, fern-like backdrop. The foliage color can range from green to a purple-tinted green, depending on the variety and growing conditions. As the growing season progresses, tall, upright stems emerge, topped with elongated, bottlebrush-like spires loaded with tiny flowers. The flowers are usually white or cream-colored, adding a soft, foamy texture above the foliage. These blossoms are noted for their delicate, often sweet fragrance that can enhance the sensory experience of a garden. After the flowering period, the plant may produce berry-like fruits, which often emerge as green but can turn to a glossy black or red as they mature. These fruits can add further visual interest to the plant, although they're typically not edible and are considered toxic if ingested. Throughout its growing cycle, Baneberry can serve as an attractive specimen in shaded to partially shaded garden areas, blending well with other shade-loving perennials and providing a vertical accent with its flowering spires. The contrast between the fine texture of the leaves and the boldness of the flowers helps this plant stand out in ornamental plantings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Bugbane, Cimicifuga.

    • Common names

      Actaea matsumurae, Cimicifuga simplex, Cimicifuga matsumurae.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Features showy white flower spikes and deeply cut, fern-like foliage that adds a dramatic touch to shade gardens.
    • Attracts Wildlife: Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, enriching local biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires minimal care apart from occasional watering and deadheading.
    • Shade Tolerance: Thrives in part to full shade, making it an ideal choice for woodland gardens and shaded borders.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides late summer to early fall blooms when many other plants have finished flowering.
    • Height and Structure: Can reach up to 2 meters tall, offering vertical interest to planting designs.
    • Deciduous Foliage: Offers a change in seasonal foliage color, contributing to the year-round interest in the garden.
    • Cold Hardy: Suitable for a range of climates, as it is hardy in USDA zones 3-8.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photographic subject: Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant' is often used as a subject in botanical photography due to its striking appearance, especially the bottlebrush spikes of white flowers.
    • Garden architecture: The tall, vertical structure of 'Prichard's Giant' can be used to create visual interest and architectural elements in garden design.
    • Fall interest: With its late blooming period, it adds aesthetic value to gardens in fall when many other plants are declining.
    • Night garden: 'Prichard's Giant' is suitable for a moon or white garden, where it can reflect moonlight and create a glowing effect at dusk or nighttime.
    • Drama in shade gardens: Its dark foliage and statuesque form bring drama to shady garden areas, providing an eye-catching contrast to the usual greenery.
    • Background plant: Due to its height, this plant can serve as a backdrop for lower-growing, brighter-colored plants in a garden setting.
    • Focal point: A specimen of 'Prichard's Giant' can be planted as a stand-alone focal point in garden designs due to its size and unique appearance.
    • Film and theater: It can be used in set design for film or theater productions to create an eerie or whimsical woodland setting.
    • Educational tool: Botanical gardens and educational institutions may use this plant to teach about native and non-native species, pollination, and plant structure.
    • Floral arrangements: While not commonly used due to its size, individual flowers can sometimes be incorporated into large, dramatic floral arrangements.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bugbane is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bugbane is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Mystery and Magic - Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant', commonly known as 'Bugbane', exudes an aura of mystery due to its dark foliage and tall, wand-like flower spikes that seem to appear magically in late summer to fall.
    • Protection - Historically, some Actaea species were thought to offer protection against evil spirits and were planted near homes for this purpose.
    • Feminine Power - With its towering presence and feathery flowers, Bugbane is often associated with female strength and the presence of a feminine spirit in the garden.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Baneberry 'Prichard's Giant' prefers consistently moist soil, so water this plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Generally, watering once a week with about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water should be sufficient, but this can vary depending on climate conditions, especially during the hotter months when it may require more frequent watering to maintain soil moisture. Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot. During periods of heavy rainfall, reduce manual watering to prevent waterlogging.

  • sunLight

    Baneberry 'Prichard's Giant' thrives in partial to full shade. The best spot for this plant is one where it receives dappled sunlight or light shade throughout the day. Direct afternoon sun should be avoided as it can scorch the leaves and stress the plant. An ideal location would be under a canopy of deciduous trees or in a shaded garden bed that gets filtered morning sunlight.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Baneberry 'Prichard's Giant' prefers cooler temperatures and grows best in a range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around -20 degrees Fahrenheit, but not hotter than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Protecting the plant from extreme heat is essential to maintain its health and vigor.

  • scissorsPruning

    Baneberry 'Prichard's Giant' requires minimal pruning, primarily to remove dead or damaged stems and to shape the plant if necessary. Pruning should be done after flowering in late fall or early winter to prepare the plant for dormancy. Remove only the spent flower stems and any foliage that has yellowed or become diseased. This helps to maintain plant health and encourages more vigorous growth in the spring.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Baneberry (Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant') thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. A mixture with equal parts garden soil, peat moss or compost, and perlite or coarse sand is ideal to ensure proper drainage and fertility. Regular enrichment with organic matter helps maintain soil quality.

  • plantRepotting

    Baneberry does not require frequent repotting and can typically be repotted every 2-3 years. However, if you observe that the plant has outgrown its container or the soil has become compacted, it's time to repot. Spring or early fall is the best time to carry out repotting for this perennial.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Baneberry prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is adaptable to average household humidity. To maintain optimal growth, aim to provide it with a humidity level of 40-60%. It benefits from being placed in a naturally humid environment or from occasional misting.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in medium light, keep soil consistently moist.

    • Outdoor

      Partial shade, rich soil, protect from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant', commonly known as Bugbane or Cimicifuga, begins its life cycle as a seed, which requires a period of cold stratification to germinate. Once conditions are favorable in spring, the seed germinates and a seedling emerges, growing into a rosette of leaves. As the plant matures, it develops a tall, erect stem with compound leaves, and by late summer to early autumn, it sends up spikes of small, fragrant, white or cream-colored flowers attractive to bees and butterflies. After pollination, these flowers develop into small fruit capsules containing seeds, which are then dispersed by wind or wildlife. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, so after flowering, the above-ground parts die back to the ground in winter, and the plant survives the cold months as a root system underground. In the following spring, the cycle starts anew with fresh growth emerging from the roots.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • Actaea simplex 'Prichard's Giant', commonly known as Baneberry, is typically propagated by division. The best time for dividing Baneberry plants is in the early spring or fall when the plant is dormant. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the entire plant and gently separate the root ball into smaller sections, each with at least one bud or eye. These sections can then be replanted in well-prepared soil with good drainage, spaced approximately 15 to 18 inches (38 to 46 centimeters) apart. It's crucial to keep the newly planted divisions well-watered and to provide a mulch for moisture retention and winter protection.