Description from Flora of China
Herbs perennial. Rhizome robust, creeping, with fibrous roots. Stem terete, apically usually several branched. Leaves 1--3 × ternately sect or subpinnately compound, long petiolate. Inflorescence densely racemose, sometimes spicate, simple or branched; rachis densely glandular pubescent and hairy; bracts subulate to narrowly triangular, small. Flowers dense, small, actinomorphic, hermaphroditic or rarely unisexual and plants dioecious. Sepals 4 or 5, petaloid, white, obovate-orbicular, caducous. Petals elliptic to suborbicular, entire, slightly concave or forked-lobed with 2 empty anthers, rarely with a nectary. Stamens numerous; filaments narrowly linear to filamentous; anthers yellow, broadly ellipsoid to suborbicular. Follicles 1--8, stalked or sessile, oblong-ellipsoid to obovate-ellipsoid, adaxially convex veined, apex beaked. Seeds few, yellowish brown, ellipsoid to narrowly ellipsoid.
Elsewhere (Compton et al., Taxon 47: 593–634. 1998), Cimicifuga has been transferred to Actaea . However, for the present account, as in FRPS, one of us (Li) prefers to maintain Cimicifuga as distinct.
About 18 species: N temperate regions; eight species (three endemic) in China.
(Authors: Li Liangqian; Anthony R. Brach)