Caulophyllum thalictroides

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Caulophyllum thalictroides
Caulophyllum thalictroides Arkansas.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Caulophyllum
C. thalictroides
Binomial name
Caulophyllum thalictroides

Caulophyllum thalictroides, the blue cohosh, a species of Caulophyllum (family Berberidaceae) is a flowering plant in the Berberidaceae (barberry) family. It is a medium-tall perennial with blue berry-like fruits and bluish-green foliage. The common name cohosh is probably from an Algonquian word meaning "rough".[citation needed] The Greek-derived genus name Caulophyllum signifies "stem-leaf", while the specific name thalictroides references the similarity between the large highly divided, multiple-compound leaves of meadow-rues (Thalictrum spp.) and those of blue cohosh.


From the single stalk rising from the ground, there springs a single, large, three-branched leaf, giving rise to a yellow-flowered inflorescence, followed by bluish berries, coated with a glaucous, waxy bloom, somewhat similar in appearance to sloes. The bluish-green leaflets are three-lobed and entire at the base, but serrate at the tip.

Habitat and Distribution[edit]

The plant is found in hardwood forests and favors moist coves and hillsides, generally in shady locations, in rich soil. It grows in eastern North America, from Manitoba and Oklahoma east to the Atlantic Ocean.


The plant is pollinated early in the season by certain bee species, which are attracted by the nectar glands present on the petals .[1]


The plant has been used as a medicinal herb by American Indians.[2] Many Native American tribes, and later European herbologists and mid-wives,[3] would use this herb in conjunction with other herbs and fluids for abortive and contraceptive purposes.[4]

The seeds have also reportedly been used a coffee substitute.[1]


See also[edit]

  • Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), although similarly named, is actually a plant in a separate genus.


  1. ^ a b Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 416. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.
  2. ^ Cichoke, Anthony J. (2001). Secrets of Native American herbal remedies: a comprehensive guide to the Native American tradition of using herbs and the mind/body/spirit connection for improving health and well-being. Penguin. pp. Blue Cohosh. ISBN 1-58333-100-X.
  3. ^ Henriettesherbal. "Herbal Abortives and Birth Control". Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  4. ^ Sisterzeus. "Blue Cohosh". Retrieved 24 February 2012.

External links[edit]