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Blue Cohosh

Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx.

Blue cohosh
Figure 22.—Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Other common names.—Caulophyllum, papoose root, squawroot, blueberry root, blue ginseng, yellow ginseng.

Habitat and range.—Blue cohosh is found in the deep rich loam of shady woods from New Brunswick to South Carolina and westward to Nebraska, being abundant especially throughout the Allegheny Mountain region.

Description.—Blue cohosh is from 1 to 3 feet in height and hears at the top one large almost stemless leaf which is divided into three divisions, each of which is again divided into three divisions consisting of three leaflets each. The latter have from three to five lobes. During its early growth the plant is covered with a bluish-green bloom which gradually disappears. The small greenish-yellow flowers are borne in small heads during April and May. The small round seeds, which ripen in August, are borne on stout stalks and resemble dark-blue berries. The thick, crooked rootstock is covered with a mass of matted roots.

Part used.—The rootstock with roots, collected in autumn.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, March 13, 1998 by aw