Actaea cimicifuga L., Sp. Pl. 504 1753. (syn: Actaea dahurica Turcz. ex Fisch. & Mey.; Actaea frigida (Royle) Prantl ; Actaea frigida Wall.; Actaea mairei (H. Lév.) J. Compton ; Actaea podocarpa Schltdl.; Actaea pterosperma Turcz. ex Fisch. & Mey ; Actaea racemosa Geners. ex Steud.; Actinospora frigida (Royle) Fisch. & Mey.; Actinospora frigida (Royle) Walp.; Actinospora wallichii Meissn.; Cimicifuga foetida L.; Cimicifuga foetida var. bifida W.T. Wang & P.K. Hsiao ; Cimicifuga foetida var. longibracteata P.K. Hsiao; Cimicifuga foetida var. mairei (H. Lev.) W. T. Wang & Zh. Wang; Cimicifuga foetida var. velutina Franch. ex Finet & Gagnep.; Cimicifuga frigida Royle; Cimicifuga mairei H. Lév.; Thalictrodes cimicifuga (L.) Kuntze);
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Nepal, N-Burma (Kachin), Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, W-Siberia, C-Siberia, China (Gansu, W-Henan, Hubei, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan), Tibet, Kazakstan, Bhutan, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir (Poonch, Kashmir), India (Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh), Pakistani Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) as per Catalogue of Life;
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Fwd: Actaea cimicifolia (syn. Cimcifuga foetida) Part I : 2 posts by 1 author. Attachments (10)
I note from efI site there has been confusion as to the differences between what was Cimicifuga foetida and what was Actaea spicata which I shall cover in Part II.
To begin with, to attempt to clarify the situation, they both are now accepted under different names and BOTH with the genus Actaea.
To help improve our understanding, I am posting 10 images of what is now Actaea cimicifolia (previously Cimicifuga foetida) taken on Khelanmarg above Gulmarg on my last visit to Kashmir.
This plant is prominent, growing protected amongst dwarf Viburnum – the tallest member of Ranunculaceae family in Pakistan and Kashmir.
What is now Actaea asiatica (previously Actaea spicata) is generally found in forest rather than the more open conditions on Khelanmarg.
Flowers of Himalaya recorded Cimcifuga foetida in shrubberies & forest clearings @ 2700-4000m from Pakistan to SE Tibet and Temperate Eurasia.
They had Actaea spicata var. acuminata in forests and shrubberies @ 2400-3600m from Afghanistan to SE Tibet.
Stewart knew Cimcifuga foetida from Khelanmarg; Kashmir and N.Pakistan from 2100-3600m.
He was familiar with Actaea spicata common in mesophytic forest, often with Aconitum leave from 2100-3300m.
Actaea spicata is included in ‘The Valley of Flowers’ book but not the Cimicifuga.
… photo of what is now Actaea asiatica at the fruiting stage (terminal cluster of shining stalked berries) is correctly identified but the nomenclature has changed.
However, both as per The Plant List Ver.1.1 & Catalogue of LifeActaea spicata var. acuminata (Wall. ex Royle) H.Hara is the accepted name.
Actaea asiatica H. Hara is another accepted species with distribution in Russian Far East, Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu), China (Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan), North Korea, South Korea as per catalogue of Life.


Photographed from Khillenmarg Kashmir, alt 3100, perhaps Actaea spicata. Please validate.


Beautiful upload  kindly  display the flowers also which can help for
authentication of the plant
Leaves resembles to Actaea spicata whose nomenclature is proposed as Ahriges choistophskrant


Seems to me Acteae spicata, mostly in coniferous forests of Gulmarg under Viburnum grandiflorum shrubs.
But has to be excluded from Cimcifuga foetida, with which it can be confused in vegetative stage.

I have pics of both with leaves, i will see to it..


Actaea spicata herbarium specimen from Yusmarg Kasgmir

Attachments (1)


Very good upload. Would have loved to see the terminal cylindrical cluster of flower as in FOH.
Hope somebody will post it.
Description of leaves: Large ternate? twice cut, lanceolate conspicuously sharp toothed leaflets. Flowers regular.

Whole plant poisonous. Roots medicinal.


Here is the pic of Actaea spicata from Kashmir. Attachments (1)


Cimcifuga foetida in Kashmir. Attachments (2)


How leaves differ: the left side of picture are leaves of Actaea spicata and right side are those of Cimcifuga foetida. Attachments (1)


Yes …


A feedback from another thread:
“I think there has been a mix-up with … samples of foliage. The left-hand sample appears to me to be A.cimicifuga not A.spicata var. acuminata.  I am uncertain about the right hand image.  It is not A.cimicifuga but may not be A.spicata var. acuminata either.  Fuller specimens (showing the lower parts as well) would have helped.
As for … image. Is this A.spicata var. acuminata or A.cimicifuga?”


 /wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Actaea%20Kashmir%20-Chris%20%20Chadwell-.jpg
Fwd: Actaea cimicifolia (syn. Cimcifuga foetida) Part II : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
There is confusion between the foliage of what is now Actaea asiatica (previously A.spicata var. acuminata) and that of what is now Actaea cimicifuga (previously Cimcifuga foetida)
I have taken the liberty of adding images of … to one of mine on a single ‘slide’ and attaching for comparative purposes. See below.
I consider my image and that of … are of plants which have been correctly identified.
I think there has been a mix-up with … samples of foliage. The left-hand sample appears to me to be A.cimicifuga not A.asiatica.  I am uncertain about the right hand image. It is not A.cimicifuga but may not be A.asiatica either. Fuller specimens (showing the lower parts as well) would have helped.
As for … image. Is this A.asiatica or A.cimicifuga?
What do members think?

However, both as per The Plant List Ver.1.1 & Catalogue of Life,  Actaea spicata var. acuminata (Wall. ex Royle) H.Hara is the accepted name.
Actaea asiatica H. Hara is another accepted species with distribution in Russian Far East, Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu), China (Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan), North Korea, South Korea as per catalogue of Life.


I leave it others to ‘decide’ or ‘debate’ or ‘interpret’ as to the ‘accepted’ nomenclature/taxonomic treatment of Actaea/ Cimicifuga.
The MOST important aspect is correct IDENTIFICATION. Names change (and sometimes change back) and with different revisions of genera there are further alterations.
The fundamental point is the need for accurately IDENTIFYING plants – regardless of which name is applied to them by various ‘sources’.

Stewart included the Actaea and Cimicifuga within Ranunculaceae in his ‘Annotated Catalogue’ in 1972, calling them Actaea spicata and Cimicifuga foetida respectively. The plants (species/taxa) he knew ARE the plants I am referring to – whatever their current names and I consider the photos I sent from Khelanmarg are of what Stewart knew as C.foetida a plant which can be separated from what Stewart knew as A.spicata.



shrub for ID on Phulchowki : 4 posts by 3 authors. 3 images- 3 mb each.

I have several photos of the plant in different stages of flowering. I hope you can help with the ID.


Cimicifuga foetida L. !

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Actaea cimicifuga L. : 6 posts by 1 author. 6 images- 5 to 7 mb each.
Location: Kathmandu Valley
Date:  October 2020 
Elevation: 2800m.
Habitat  : Wild
Syn : Cimicifuga foetida L.


More images from same date and location !
2 very high res. images.


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