This bugbane (Actaea racemosa) had been growing very happily for several years. This spring it came up, leafed out and bloomed... and then suddenly last week the leaves and unripe fruits all turned black. There's been a lot of rain here (Zone 6) in June and July but everything else seems to be doing very well with the wet.

dying Actaea

In this first pic the bugbane is the dead leaves foreground left, with its flower stalk going up out of frame. The yellow-green leaves behind the stalk are a couple of doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda) that have had the same history and are starting to go the same way.

dead bugbane flower stalk

Here are the failed fruits. The bloom seemed perfectly normal and the berries were starting to develop in the usual way. The doll's eyes has not bloomed. It looks to me like too much water, but they're supposed to like Moist... It gets morning sun; things around it are jewelweed, Joe Pye weed, swamp verbena and some rushes.

  • What kind of soil do you have? What's the drainage like?
    – Jurp
    Jul 31, 2023 at 21:54
  • Basically marine clay, but that's a spot with a decent humus layer on top. There's enough slope so runoff runs off but in a heavy rain that path on the right can wash out.
    – uhClem
    Jul 31, 2023 at 22:18


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