bugbane, any plant of the genus Cimicifuga, tall north-temperate perennials of the family Ranunculaceae ( buttercup family). The white spirelike bloom has a rank odor that attracts flies, which pollinate the plant. Common in woodlands of E North America is C. racemosa, black snakeroot, or black cohosh, whose root is used commercially as an herbal remedy for conditions associated with menopause . (The most rigorous study of its use to treat menopause, however, reported in 2006 that it was not any more effective than a placebo.) Other plants are also called bugbane and snakeroot; most plants called cohosh belong to the related baneberry genus. Bugbane is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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