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Actaea (Black Snakeroot)
at Digging Dog

Including Actaea japonica, Actaea racemosa, and Actaea simplex

Actaea

Black Snakeroot

A botanical "Renaissance Man", Actaea is at home in an informal garden, a refined border or in an arrangement for opening night at the Met. Their ambrosial perfume floats through the air as they brighten their surroundings. Actaea is happiest in moist, humus-enriched soil and bright shade; otherwise it´s carefree and low maintenance.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Actaea cordifolia  full sun  partial shade
Appalachian Bugbane

An 1805 discovery by German-born Frederick Pursh in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, this superb hard-to-find American native sprouts broad ample-sized foliage, distinctive for its handsome Maple-like appearance. Straight emerald-hued steadfast stems, bearing fragrant creamy white floral candles, tower above a leafy verdant clump. Appalachian Bugbane can be ensconced near Athyrium 'Ghost', where it vows luminous late season accents, deer resistance and easy care.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 4'–4-1/2' high x 2'–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Actaea cordifolia (P-1828)
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Actaea japonica ‘(Cheju Island Form)’  full sun  partial shade  new plant
Japanese Bugbane

A superior South Korean selection recently introduced by Darrell Probst, this compact aristocratic Actaea furnishes lush verdant layers of divided jagged-edged (notched) shiny green leaves, clasping blackish purple stalks. The dark pearl-shaped buds plus tiny snow white blossoms embellish tall close-set glittering candles that gracefully herald the season’s end.

Blooms August–September

Size: 4'–5' high x 2'–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Actaea japonica ‘(Cheju Island Form)’ (P-1871)
Each $9.00
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AVAILABLE MAY 2017


Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’  full sun  partial shade
White Baneberry

Promising three season appeal for the woodland garden, this marvelous soft-looking East coast native is a Dr. Richard Lighty selection from Delaware’s esteemed Mt. Cuba Center. Its handsome glaucous clump of finely cut silvery blue-green foliage hosts small starburst-like creamy white blooms on short stalks in spring and several months later, wondrous round white berries, each tattooed with a distinctive black spot at the tip and poised upon a striking bright red pedicel. Long-lived White Baneberry crafts an exceptional multistemmed ground cover that favors moist well-drained soil.

Size: 2'–3' high x 2'–3' wide. Zone 3/4.

Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’ (P-1789)
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Actaea racemosa  full sun  partial shade
Actaea racemosa Actaea racemosa

Long wandlike, creamy white flower racemes seem to dangle and dance on invisible stems above clumps of Astilbe-like foliage. Try this Actaea (Cimicifuga) in a naturalized setting, under a tall canopy at the back of the border, next to leafy Ligularia.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 5'–6' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.


Actaea racemosa (P-0048)
Each $8.50
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AVAILABLE SPRING 2017


Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea’  full sun  partial shade
Actaea simplex Atropurpurea

Grown from seedlings carefully selected for dark, coppery purple foliage, the regal profile of ‘Atropurpurea’ shows its good breeding. A garden dweller with a staid bearing, its stately reddish purple stems soar above your head, displaying dense spires covered with round mahogany-hued buds and sweet pouffes of white.

Echo this Actaea’s somber tones by bringing it together with Angelica gigas, and let the lime green foliage of Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’ brighten the mood.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 6' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea’ (p-0049)
Each $9.00
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Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’  full sun  partial shade

Noted around town for her purple-black leaves and stems, this ‘Brunette’ is sure to turn some heads with the gentle way of her graceful, ferny foliage. At the back of the border, amidst the chaos of more summery greens, this dark lady’s shadow lingers long before offering up arching racemes of fragrant, slightly blushed white flowers. One of the most sought-after cultivars, ‘Brunette’ is another incredibly lovely dark foliage selection of Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex seedlings.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 5'–6' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’ (P-0811)
Each $12.50
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Actaea simplex ‘Pink Spike’  full sun  partial shade

Midnight dark, lean lofty stems culminate in honey-scented, long pale pink spires stretching skyward above a refined, Ariel-like mass of sumptuous, chocolatey purple serrated foliage. This splendid garden aristocrat casts a decidedly feminine aspect on Geranium m. ‘Espresso’s coffee-colored leaves.

Blooms August – October.

Size: 5' high x 2'–2-1/2' wide. Zone 3/4.

Actaea simplex ‘Pink Spike’ (P-1427)
Each $13.75
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Actaea simplex var. matsumurae ‘White Pearl’  full sun  partial shade

Surprisingly underused, ‘White Pearl’s bright white, bottlebrushlike blossoms and large pearly buds will light up a somber setting just like the animated glow of a 4th of July sparkler. The good-sized ambrosial flowers unfurl later than most other Actaeas, while their densely set stalks are more arching than racemosa’s.

Tolerating drier, less rich soils, deceptively tough wiry stems and finely cut, toothed foliage compose the medium green nimble-looking stand which slowly spreads.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 4' high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Actaea simplex var. matsumurae ‘White Pearl’ (P-1371)
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Latest News

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant
"

Dainty blooms and unfurling leaves forge an early spring treasure trove of color and texture.

In the last ten days, we’ve experienced all kinds of weather at Digging Dog, including frosty mornings, torrential downpours, deafening hail, glorious sunny 70 º afternoons and even sleet! Thankfully spring is almost here and signs of its arrival grow more evident every day. Brimming with possibility, youthful growth and pristine delicacy, the early spring garden is a fresh treasure trove of color and texture. The plants featured in this newsletter caught my eye while walking through the nursery and along the surrounding borders. Hopefully, a handful of them will spark your interest as well! All of us here at the nursery wish you a very happy spring and countless happy afternoons digging in a garden!

Digging Dog's mid March 2017 Newsletter Link"

More news, events, and favorite plants


Customer Comment:

“My order was packed very carefully, every plant was watered well before shipment and in great shape on arrival. Thanks Digging Dog”

~H.P. in Ben Lomond


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