Page author: David Giblin
Actaea elata
tall bugbane
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest and in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington; British Columbia south to Oregon.

Habitat: Moist, shady woods at low elevations.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Herbaceous perennial from a woody rhizome, the stems branched above, 1-2 m. tall, finely pubescent and somewhat glandular above.


Leaves alternate, bi-ternate, the leaflets ovate-cordate, up to 1.5 cm. long, tri-lobed, and again shallowly lobed and toothed.


Inflorescenses paniculate, bracteate, branches glandular to lanate; sepals 5, white to pinkish-white; petals 0 (absent); stamens 20-30; pistils 1-3, superior, sessile.


Follicles 9-12 mm. long, sub-sessile, usually single in the upper flowers.

Accepted Name:
Actaea elata (Nutt.) Prantl

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cimicifuga elata Nutt. [FNA3, HC]
var. elata – tall bugbane
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Actaea elata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Actaea elata checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Actaea elata atlas page.

CalPhotos: Actaea elata photos.

USDA Plants: Actaea elata information.

20 photographs:
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