Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Blue Cohosh
(Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) –
From the Latinized form of the Arabic name for
the Berberis genus. Alternative Pronunciation:
Genus: Caulophyllum (kaw-loh-FIL-um) – From
the Greek kaulos (stem) and phyllon (leaf),
referring to the way the stem forms a stalk for a
single large leaf.
Species: thalictroides (thal-ik-TROY-deez) –
Greek name Thalictrum for a plant which may
have resembled the meadowrue or cohosh.
Blue Cohosh
Blue cohosh is named for its bluish stem
and dark blue berries. Other common
names for this native plant include
caulophyllum, papoose root, squawroot,
blueberry root, blue ginseng, yellow
ginseng. It is in the barberry family.
It is an erect perennial which can be from
30 to 90 cm tall. In Altona Forest it can
be found along Petticoat Creek and in
some places in the deciduous sections.
Blue Cohosh
The bluish green leaves consist of 3 to 5
oblong leaflets which also may be divided
into 2 to 5 lobes near the tip.
Future location of photo.
Blue Cohosh
During early growth, the plant is covered with a
bluish-green bloom which slowly disappears.
The small slightly greenish yellow flowers bloom in
clusters at the tops of the stems usually in April
and May before the leaves are fully open. Flowers
are about 1 - 1.5 cm across.
The root has been used as a remedy for menstrual
The small round seeds, which ripen in August, are
borne on stout stalks and resemble dark-blue
berries. The fruit is poisonous.
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