Blue Cohosh

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Caulophyllum thalictroides
Caulophyllum thalictroides from Britton & Brown 1913
Caulophyllum thalictroides from Britton & Brown 1913
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Caulophyllum
Species: C. thalictroides
Binomial name
Caulophyllum thalictroides
(L.) Michaux

Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), also called squaw root (which often is used for the parasitic flowering plant, Conopholis americana) or papoose root, is a flowering plant in the Berberidaceae (barberry) family. It is a medium-tall perennial with blue berry-like fruits and bluish-green foliage.

It was used as a medicinal herb by American Indians, and can also be used as a dietary supplement that can induce labor, regulate menstrual flow, suppress menstruation, and ease the pain and difficulty that accompany childbirth. This herb should not be taken during pregnancy.

From the single stalk rising from the ground, there is a single, large, three-branched leaf plus a fruiting stalk. The bluish-green leaflets are tulip-shaped, entire at the base but serrate at the tip. Its species name, thalictroides, comes from the similarity between the large highly divided, multiple-compound leaves of Meadow-rue (Thalictrum) and those of Blue Cohosh.

It is found in hardwood forest of the eastern United States, and favors moist coves and hillsides, generally in shady locations, in rich soil.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), although similarly named, is actually a plant in a separate genus.

Blue Cohosh grows in eastern North America, from Manitoba and Oklahoma east to the Atlantic Ocean.

See also

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