Caulophyllum giganteum (Farw.) Loconte & Blackwell - Early Blue Cohosh


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Caulophyllum giganteum - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Berberidaceae


Rich woods.




Quebec to MI, south to NC and TN.


Herbaceous perennial; stems erect, 30-80 cm, glaucous when young; leaflets obovate-oblong, 2-5-lobed above the middle, 5-10 cm at maturity; inflorescence a small, panicle-like or raceme-like cyme, 3-6 cm; flowers 4-18, greenish-purple, the slender, spreading, somewhat twisted sepals 6-9 mm; pistil 3-5 mm; style 1-2 mm; filaments 1.5-2.5 mm; seeds dark blue, 5-8 mm, on erect stalks nearly as long.


Flowers April to early May.

Wetland indicator: NA

Flowers a few weeks earlier than C. thalictroides as the leaves are just starting to emerge, the foliage at this time usually purplish like the flowers. Calophyllum thalictroides has more yellow flowers that can be 5-70 per inflorescence (C. giganteum rarely has more than 18 flowers) that open after the foliage has expanded. The two species can sometimes be found growing together, though C. giganteum is restricted to northeastern and Appalachian states.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




Michael Hough 2018