Actaea simplex (Actaea racemosa) 'Hillside Black Beauty' (Baneberry)
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Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' is a purple-hued cultivar of Actaea simplex, also known as baneberry, and occasionally referred to as Cimicifuga simplex in scientific literature. Baneberry is a clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial originally native to eastern Asia. The 'Hillside Black Beauty' cultivar is noted for its dark purple, almost black-tinged foliage; though young foliage emerges green, it quickly deepens to a rich, wine-deep color.
Blooming in September and October, 'Hillside Black Beauty' produces numerous, strongly fragrant, creamy white to pale pink flowers, and although the foliage grows to a manageable height of between two and three feet, flower spikes can easily bring the total height of the plant to four to six feet. Actaea simplex thrives in average or organically rich, well-drained soils in locations with part to full shade; in addition, 'Hillside Black Beauty' is a tender ornamental, and should be protected from strong winds and from drying out.
Although this cultivar is environmentally tender, it is also attractive to birds, butterflies, and other pollinators, and is largely ignored by foraging deer, making it a great choice for woodland or shaded border gardens.