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TOPIC: black cohosh identification

black cohosh identification 10 years 1 month ago #23569

Just moved up here and bought a piece of land. It is loaded with black cohosh. The problem is everybody keeps telling me to be sure it is black cohosh and not white cohosh. Okay, so how do you tell them apart other than the seeds. This time of the year there is no seeds and most of the stems have fallen over. I have searched the internet high and low for pictures and info on the different types. I see no distinguishable difference and everybody keeps telling me (these are supposed to be root hunters now) they don't know the difference. Are they yanking my chain, very possible they do that quite often to entertain themselves :) Can somebody help me with some really useful info?

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Re:black cohosh identification 10 years 1 month ago #23574


I've never heard of white but there is a blue cohosh that has a light yellow really stringy root ( mop like ). The blue cohosh tops resembles the black but you can tell the difference and you can sure tell in the roots. The black cohosh gets its name from its large black woody root. Now when you break the root open it does have a white textured inside. As far as I know there isn't anything that resembles the root.


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Re:black cohosh identification 10 years 1 month ago #23577

the blue cohosh tops will have smooth edges and the black will have jagged edges.thats the easy way to tell the difference.

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Re:black cohosh identification 10 years 1 month ago #23581

Another name for white cohosh is baneberry or doll's eye.


There are a few good pictures of doll's eye.

Here are some pictures of the black cohosh


Blue cohosh will likely have blue berries on this time of year. The berries are all seed though with a thin blue skin. The leaves are rounded compared to the sharp, lacey look of the black or white cohosh.

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Re:black cohosh identification 10 years 4 weeks ago #23672

I can tell you about red. it's roots are smooth like potatoes and has thin hair like on a pig. when you snap it into it has a dull some times red look. I had to bring a load back to the house and hand pick them out because they want buy it ,no red. black roots are like your knuckles with thick hairs and when you snap it into it has a bright yellow color. I've never seen white. heard it's roots are small like puffs. hope this helps.

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Re:black cohosh identification 9 years 11 months ago #25531

Are the buds on the black cohosh roots always purple? I dug some that have a more yellow/off white bud, but the color somewhat resembles what the bottom of some of the purple buds look like. The roots all look the same otherwise, and the tops all look the same too. They have all had tall remnant flower stalks. We have also been seeing some white bugbane, or doll's eyes, and have been meaning to dig up one of those to see the roots, but haven't. I have yet to see the 2 growing side by side. I noticed that the doll's eyes has dry flower stalks that are 1) shorter and 2) the stem from where the flower was is longer. Also, the black cohosh tend to be taller overall. My Newcomb's says that White baneberry is 1-3ft high with 1-2\" long flower racemes. Black cohosh is listed as being 3-8ft high with flower racemes that are 6\"+. So, according to my field id and book id, what I harvested should be black cohosh. Just looking for a second opinion.

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Re:black cohosh identification 9 years 11 months ago #25550

there are white , black, red and blue cohosh. once you see a black cohosh root there is no way to not know which is which. look at my avatar pic. on the bottom you will see a nice black cohosh root I dug. it always has what I call pipe heads sticking up from the root. the roots hairs are thick the red are small like hair. they only buy black. I had to take a bag home once and use a biscuit pan to pick out the red before they would buy my roots. I will send you pic's of racks to dry them in you can build. I'm leaving to work in Nashville and would give you mine but your to far away. I use a nail bar to dig mine. if you notice the stem is on one side, I push my fingers in the dirt and find out which way the root is growing the stem is always on one end and I push the bar under the root and pry up on it. tho there are those that are what I call runners that the piece where there stem is the root runs around under ground to the main root. I have traced them for as much as arms length but it was all root and weight. after the plant dies it leaves what we call chicken bones. like the bones from a chicken leg. I have in the past went around the MT looking for patches before the plant dies and leave markers in limbs above them so I can find them later. toilet paper works real good. I wish you well and anyway I can help you I will. God bless.

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Re:black cohosh identification 8 years 1 month ago #36530

Hope you have figured out the correct species to collect known as black cohosh.
But just in case your not sure here is a bit of info for you to follow up on.
Actaea racemosa (L.) syn. Cimicifuga racemosa (L.) Nutt.
You can lookup at these links: plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ACRAR

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