(syn: Actaea simplex) When I first visited Mary Ann and Fred McGourty in 1991, they showed me a special seedling from Cimicifuga 'Brunette' that was much darker than its predecessor. This plant became C.' Hillside Black Beauty' and, over a decade later, is the worldwide standard. In August the 2' tall x 2' wide rosette of black-purple anemone-like foliage is topped with stunning 5' tall flower spikes, ending in narrow spires of white, flushed with pink. This is a must-have plant where it can be grown and that doesn't include the hot, humid South. Even in zone 7a where it survives, the foliage doesn't retain the dark purple trait in late summer. A good, moist, rich soil in a cool climate is best.
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