Tall plant with long, tall flower spikes.
The large leaves are divided into many leaflets that are sharply
toothed, and sometimes also lobed. The flowers are
starbursts of stamens around the central pistil. Petals
are minute, hidden behind the stamens, and sepals fall off
early. The flowers are arrayed in long clusters and open
from the top down.
Occasional in the deep woods on both slopes.
Blooms in midsummer.
In bloom, the plant is almost unmistakable, with
its tall ethereal spikes glowing in the shady forest.
American bugbane (Cimicifuga americana) is very similar,
differing in the shape of the pistil, but it has not been
reported from Wildwood. Without the flowerstalks, the
leaves are still fairly distinctive, since not many things in
Wildwood have leaves divided into so many leaflets.